Editorial Feature

Tips for Choosing a Fuel Efficient or Hybrid Secondhand Car

Tips for Finding a Fuel Efficient Car
Limited Supplies


Given the increased interest in finding a vehicle that provides more gas economy, CarMax is providing insight into what people should know about hybrids and buying a more fuel-efficient vehicle in general.

"If you are really interested in a hybrid, which many people are, there are several pros and cons you will really want to consider before you buy," said Eric Rosen, a member of the CarMax purchasing team. "One benefit is that hybrids obviously average better gas mileage than conventional gas vehicles. However, they are usually a couple thousand dollars more expensive and can take a few years to recoup the premium paid for them."

Tips For Finding a Fuel Efficient Car

Due to the increased interest, CarMax's purchasing team offers the following tips when shopping for a used hybrid or a more fuel-efficient vehicle:

  • Do your research on hybrid vehicles
  • Hybrids combine a gasoline engine with an electric motor powered by batteries. The electric motor helps increase the engine's fuel efficiency
  • Learn what type of hybrid is best for you, a full or mild hybrid
  • A full hybrid can at times be powered by an electric motor independent of a gas engine. The electric motor gives it the ability to obtain more miles to the gallon than a non-hybrid
  • A mild hybrid uses its electric motor only to assist the gasoline engine when more power is required. In most cases, a mild hybrid gets better highway mileage than city mileage
  • Investigate whether your state offers tax credits or HOV access for hybrid owners. Some states still offer some benefits, although the laws are changing
  • Research non-hybrid, fuel-efficient cars that also offer better-than-average miles per gallon
  • Some non-hybrids like the Honda Fit and Toyota Corolla can get up to 35mpg highway
  • Hybrid and non-hybrid versions of the same car differ in price. The hybrid version can cost up to $5,000 more
  • Certain high performance hybrids, such as the Lexus GS450h, get just a few more miles per gallon than the non-hybrid version.

Limited Supplies

"Due to limited supplies, new hybrids are difficult to find. Consumers are sometimes required to make a deposit to be added to the end of a waiting list. People interested in driving a hybrid should consider purchasing a used hybrid," Rosen suggested. "To help find that perfect used car, I'd recommend people look for an auto retailer with services that let you know when certain vehicles become available, such as carmax.com's inventory alert system, and allows you to transfer used cars from one store to another."

"There are many vehicles that provide fuel efficiency beyond just hybrids," Rosen continued. "There are a number of non-hybrid cars that can get more than 30mpg on the highway, and we have the expertise and tools available to help people find a more gas-friendly car." Currently, carmax.com lists approximately 3,000 vehicles with 30mpg highway. There are currently 10,000 vehicles in the CarMax inventory rated at more than 25mpg highway.

Source: CarMax

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