Most Fuel-Efficient Vehicles That You Can Buy Right Now

By Lesley Green
Woman filling up gas at petrol station and holding curious baby boy
  • You spend as much on fuel for your car each year as auto insurance.
  • Gas prices are up 19 cents per litre since the start of the year.
  • From a two-seater to a pickup truck to SUVs, there are many fuel-efficient vehicles.

Did you know you probably spend as much at the pumps each year as you do on your auto insurance? Depending on the type of car you drive and how often, you’re likely spending $1,000 to $2,000 a year on fuel. It’s a significant cost, which is why many drivers look to buy a vehicle that sips gas (or electricity) rather than guzzling it.

It especially makes sense today when you see how gas prices have risen since the start of the year. On January 1, the average price of regular gasoline in Canada was $1.08 per litre, and today it’s hovering around $1.27. And we all know what happens when summer rolls around (not to mention long weekends). Prices will continue to creep up if history is any indication.

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In comes Natural Resources Canada’s (NRC) annual list that recognizes the most fuel-efficient vehicles sold in Canada by class. They also list what you can expect to spend on fuel each year if you drive 20,000 km -- with 55% of your time on city streets and 45% on highways (this is the traditional breakdown used when running fuel-efficiency tests.)

2021’s most fuel-efficient vehicles: Conventional vehicles

Conventional vehicles typically use a gasoline or diesel internal combustion engine as the source of energy to power them. However, this category also includes conventional hybrids that use both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. The battery that powers the electric motor is charged from the engine during driving and is not plugged in.

The NRC's picks for most fuel-efficient conventional vehicles (model year 2021) are:

Type of vehicle Most fuel-efficient in class Yearly fuel cost
Two-seater Mazda MX-5 $2,212
Minicompact MINI Cooper Convertible $2,100
Subcompact Chevrolet Spark $1,750
Compact Toyota Corolla Hybrid $1,125
Mid-size Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Blue $1,100
Full-size Hyundai IONIQ Blue $1,000
Small station wagon Kia Niro $1,150
Kia Niro FE $1,150
Mid-size station wagon Mercedes-Benz E 450 4MATIC All-Terrain Wagon $2,688
Small pickup Chevrolet Colorado $2,424
Standard pickup GMC Canyon $2,424
Chevrolet Silverado $2,112
Small SUV Ford Escape Hybrid $1,450
Standard SUV Toyota Highlander Hybrid AWD $1,675
Toyota Highlander Hybrid AWD Limited/Platinum $1,675
Minivan Toyota Sienna $1,625

2021’s most fuel-efficient vehicles: Electric

Electric vehicles are the most energy-efficient and lowest emission choices available today. The NRC's picks for the most fuel-efficient vehicles are:

Type of vehicle Most fuel-efficient in class Yearly fuel cost
Minicompact Polestar_1 $1,330
Subcompact Karma GS-6 (21” Wheels) $1,131
Subcompact Karma Revero GT (21” Wheels) $1,131
Mid-size Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus $385
Full-size Tesla Model S Performance (19” Wheels) $494
Small station wagon Chevrolet Bolt EV $463
Small station wagon Kia Soul EV (120 Ah) $463
Small SUV Tesla Model Y Standard Range $421
Standard SUV Tesla Model X Long Range Plus $517
Minivan Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid $1,187

If gas prices really get under your skin, there are all sorts of vehicles to choose from that will help you spend less on fuel. From a two-seater to an SUV to a fully electric car, there’s something for everyone with fuel-efficiency top of mind.