15 Best Fuel-Efficient Cars Under $30K That Are Totally Worth Buying

Unleash savings at the pump with these eco-friendly rides under $30K.

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Updated July 18, 2024
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A car's sticker price isn’t the only cost you should consider when budgeting for a new vehicle. Gas can also be a significant expense. 

A gas guzzler can cost you a lot of cash over time, making it difficult to get ahead financially. On the other hand, a fuel-efficient car can cut gas costs significantly every year. 

Here are some fuel-sipping cars under $30,000 that you might want to consider buying.

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Volkswagen Jetta

Courtesy of Volkswagen volkswagen jetta

The Volkswagen Jetta lets you enjoy a stylish car with German engineering without the expensive cost of more popular German car models.

The Jetta can get you an estimated 29 miles per gallon in the city and 42 on the highway. 

It has a starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $21,345 — a reasonable price that can help lower your financial stress.

Toyota Camry

Courtesy of Toyota toyota camry

The Toyota Camry is tough to beat if you’re looking for a dependable car with a good reputation.

The Camry was one of the best-selling cars in 2022, and the 2024 model has a starting MSRP of $26,420. The comfortable-to-drive Camry also gets 26 miles per gallon in the city and 33 on the highway.

Subaru Legacy

Courtesy of Subaru subaru-legacy

Check out a Subaru Legacy if you want an affordable and safe car. The model was named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

You get 27 miles per gallon in the city and 35 on the highway. The Legacy does come with all-wheel drive (AWD), which can cut into your fuel budget when it’s activated.

The Subaru Legacy has a starting MSRP of $24,895.

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Ford Escape

Courtesy of Ford ford-escape

SUVs don’t always get great gas mileage, but there are exceptions you can pick for less than $30,000. The Ford Escape, for example, comes with a MSRP of $29,495.

The Escape Active model with a 1.5-liter EcoBoost gets 26 miles per gallon in the city and 32 on the highway. The 2.5-liter hybrid engine gets you 42 miles per gallon in the city and 36 miles on the highway.

Honda Civic

Courtesy of Honda honda civic

The Honda Civic was another of the best-selling cars in 2022. The 2024 sedan has an MSRP of $23,950.

The car gets 31 miles per gallon in the city and 40 on the highway, making it a great car if you need to save money when filling up your tank.

Hyundai Elantra

Courtesy of Hyundai hyundai elantra

The Hyundai Elantra is a sedan for budget-conscious drivers who want a car with both an affordable price tag and low fuel costs.

The car gets an estimated 32 miles per gallon in the city and 41 on the highway. Pick up an Elantra for an MSRP of $21,625.

Kia Forte

Courtesy of Kia kia-forte

The Kia Forte’s MSRP of $19,990 makes it one of the cheaper vehicles you will find on the market.

The Forte LX, the model’s cheapest option, gets an estimated 30 miles per gallon in the city and 41 on the highway.

Chevy Trailblazer

Courtesy of Chevrolet chevy-trailblazer

The Chevy Trailblazer is a great option if you want a small SUV that offers good visibility for the driver.

The Trailblazer gets an estimated 29 miles per gallon in the city or 33 on the highway and has a starting MSRP of $23,100.

Mitsubishi Mirage

Courtesy of Mitsubishi mitsubishi mirage

The Mitsubishi Mirage is a compact hatchback that is a great option for those who want a low purchase price and to save on the cost of gas.

The Mirage has an MSRP of $16,695, making it one of the more affordable vehicles you will find. It also gets 36 miles per gallon in the city and 43 on the highway.

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Toyota Prius

Courtesy of Toyota toyota prius

The Toyota Prius was one of the first cars in the market with a hybrid engine, giving it a unique place in the car industry when it comes to fuel efficiency at an affordable price.

The car is still affordable, with an MSRP of $27,950. It also gets a whopping 57 miles per gallon in the city and 56 on highways.

Kia Rio

Courtesy of Kia kia rio

The Kia Rio is another car that's easy on your wallet, with an MSRP of $16,750.

The Rio also is fuel-efficient, getting 32 miles per gallon in the city and 41 miles per gallon on the highway.

Mazda 3

Courtesy of Mazda mazda-3

All-wheel drive can be helpful in winter climates, and the Mazda 3 has it — as well as an MSRP of $24,170.

The Mazda 3 gives you an estimated 28 miles per gallon in the city or 37 on highways.

Nissan Versa

Courtesy of Nissan nissan versa

The subcompact Nissan Versa may not be big when it comes to size, but it can offer you large savings.

The Versa has a low MSRP of $16,390. It can get 32 miles per gallon in the city and 40 on highways.

Mini Cooper

Courtesy of Mini USA mini cooper

The stylish Mini Cooper will turn heads with its unique compact design and attractive price tag of $26,795.

You'll also save money on gas with this car, as it gets 29 miles per gallon in the city and 38 on the highway.

Honda Accord

Courtesy of Honda honda accord

The Honda Accord is priced right at an MSRP of $27,895. It also offers plenty of safety features and earned a Top Safety Pick Plus rating from the IIHS.

The Accord can get you 29 miles per gallon in the city or 37 on highways.

Bottom line

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Purchasing a car is a big investment, but the cars on this list can help you cut fuel costs year after year.

Consider one of these cars if you're in the market for a new vehicle, and see if you can save money on car insurance to bring your costs down even more.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen

Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.