Not everyone who is energy conscious can afford a brand new hybrid, but used car shoppers can find efficient cars in their price range just the same. There have always been standouts on the efficiency front, so there are plenty of gems in the used car sector.
2000 Honda Insight
The Honda Insight made its debut around the same time as the Toyota Prius, but the two-seater with the funny wheel covers in the rear failed to catch fire like its Japanese cousin. The Insight is a three-door hatchback that looked like nothing else on the road at the time, but it clocks an impressive 51 mpg combined. It was originally marketed as a 70 mpg car, but that was a stretch even under the old EPA testing guidelines.
2004 to 2006 Scion xB
The original box on wheels uses a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine to pump out a combined 30 mpg, impressive considering its decidedly wind-resistant shape. The car was a hit with the early 20s set, and it is a critical darling.
2004 to 2007 Mazda 3
The zippy, sporty 3 is Mazda's entry-level subcompact, but an abundance of standard features always set it apart from the pack in the mid-2000s. Mileage for the five-door manual is an impressive 30 combined.
1999 to 2001 Acura Integra LS
The Integra LS is a classy-looking entry-level sedan, nicely appointed and efficient. If your price point is in the $5,000 to $6,000 range, you could do a lot worse than one of these---if you can find one. Few sedans today achieve 32 mpg combined like the Integra does.
1999 to 2001 Toyota Corolla LE
Another mpg standout sedan is the turn-of-the-century Corolla. It keeps pace with the Integra's 32 mpg combined. Solid, stylish and dependable, the Corolla achieves an 8.8 user rating at MSN Autos.