The Real Cost of Driving a New Car

The Real Cost of Driving a New Car

Starting this year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires that every new car have a sticker disclosing the agency's annual estimated fuel costs for that model.

But Fox News reports that number may not be entirely accurate.

Those stickers assume you drive 15,000 miles per year and pay $3.70 per gallon--but in fact, it fails to take into account how often you drive and where you pump your gas, which affects your annual gas price. So how can you really know what you'll spend on gas?

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Look no further--the data from a new survey by GasBuddy.com calculates it for you. Using information from sources including volunteers and gas stations, GasBuddy took the average price of gas ($3.59 per gallon) in July and measured cars and trucks alike based on the EPA's calculation of their combined city and highway mileage.

Hybrids: Worth the Money?

The Toyota Prius C hybrid subcompact, averaging at 7.2 cents per mile, earned the title as most efficient car. No surprise there: The top ten cars for fuel efficiency were hybrid--and the top three were variations of the Toyota Prius--according to the survey. But do hybrids really save you money in the long run?

Maybe not. Because they cost more upfront, it could take years to pay that off in gas savings. Fox News uses the Ford Fusion midsize hybrid as an example of the problem. Averaging 7.6 cents per mile, it seems an obvious choice to opt for the hybrid over Ford's regular sedan, which comes in at 12.8 cents per mile. But to drive the hybrid off the lot, you have to pay an extra $5,300--and based on Fox's calculations, it would take a whopping seven years to save enough on gas to make up that price gap.

RELATED: Want to Save on Gas? There's an App For That

If hybrids aren't your style, or you don't think you will be driving your car for a decade, the Scion iQ was listed as the best non-hybrid vehicle, coming in at 9.7 cents per mile.

The survey found that looking at non-hybrid cars, Honda vehicles beat out other brands, costing an average of only 12.8 cents per mile. Other well-performing brands included Kia, Hyundai, Volkswagen, Mazda, Subaru, Mitsubishi and Toyota.

And if you're looking for fuel efficiency, beware of American-made cars: Many American brands, including General Motors Co.'s GMC, Jeep, Chevrolet, Dodge and Chrysler were among the least-efficient brands. Add that to poor driving practices that the EPA says can lower gas mileage (like speeding, slamming on the brakes and idling), and you'll pay even more.

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