2012 Electric Cars
2012 Mitsubishi i (MiEV)
$540 annual fuel cost
Electric cars are still very much a niche category, but a growing one, with the addition of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV to the fleet that was born last year. For shorter trips, or folks who can charge up at work, electric cars are a great option, and federal tax incentives will knock up to $7,500 off the purchase price (check for state incentives, too). Among 2012 electric cars, the new i-MiEV leads the pack both for fuel-efficiency and cost, and ranks as the most fuel-efficient car of the year.
It's a little thing though, so if you're in the market for an electric car with more room than a sub-compact offers, try the Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid that ranks as a compact ($39,145; 94 MPG for electric, 37 MPG for gas), or the Nissan Leaf, an all-electric vehicle that sneaks into the midsize category ($35,200; 99 MPG-equivalent). If you're looking for an electric car that's even smaller, try the Smart Fortwo, a two-seater expected to hit showrooms soon.