How to pick a fuel-sipping vehicle

The Energy Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on December 6 released the 2013 Fuel Economy Guide, giving consumers information to help them choose the most fuel-efficient and lowest greenhouse gas-emitting vehicles. The 2013 models include efficient and low-emission vehicles in a variety of classes and sizes, but notable this year is the growing availability of hybrids and the increasing number of electric vehicles (EV).

This year’s guide gives consumers a broad range of information they can use to select their next fuel-efficient ­vehicle, whether they want to consider an EV or one that uses a more conventional fuel. For the first time, the EPA and the Energy Department have added a second top ten list of most efficient vehicles—separating advanced technology vehicles from conventional gasoline and diesel vehicles. Electric and plug-in hybrid electric models are the most fuel-efficient and lowest-emission vehicles ­available and are becoming more common. At the same time, consumers may still look up the conventional gasoline and diesel models that offer superior fuel efficiency.

The overall highest-ranking vehicle was the Scion iQ EV, a minicompact with a 121 miles per gallon ­equivalent (MPGe) rating. Some of the other cars topping their classes are: the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi Plug-in Hybrid and 2013 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, which tied for best in the midsized class with 58 MPGe for use of both electricity and gasoline; the 2013 Tesla Model S (60 kilowatt-hour battery pack), ranked best in the large car class with a 95 MPGe rating; and the 2013 Toyota Prius v, which topped the midsized wagon class with a 42 miles per gallon rating. See more at the website