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Prius tops 2010 EPA fuel economy rankings

October 15, 2009 |  1:07 pm

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, hybrids have gone mainstream.

Nine of the top 10 vehicles in government’s fuel economy rankings for the 2010 model year are hybrids. And they come from six different automakers and carry nine different nameplates.

“There’s now a hybrid for everyone,” the government said in releasing the latest findings. “It’s not either a (Toyota) Prius or a (Honda) Insight anymore.”

2010 Ford Fusion hybrid The Prius hybrid was once again the leader, with fuel economy of 51 miles per gallon in city driving and 48 mpg on the highway, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s testing methodology. Other vehicles in the top 10 include the Ford Fusion hybrid and its Mercury Milan twin, the Civic and Insight hybrids from Honda and the Nissan Altima.

(To see the full top 10, as well as lists of the most fuel-efficient vehicles by category and the 10 biggest gas-guzzlers, check out this PDF: Download Highest Fuel Economy Models by Vehicle Class.)

The only non-hybrid at the top of the list was the tiny Smart For Two from Daimler, which clocked in at 33 mpg city/41 highway.

One car you won’t find on the list is the Tesla Roadster — or any of the electric cars now silently plying the nation’s roads in growing numbers. The EPA is still trying to figure out how to measure fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions in electric cars and plug-in hybrids in a way that will provide meaningful comparisons with traditional gasoline- and diesel-powered cars.

The bottom of the rankings were populated by expensive gas-burners from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Bentley and the like — cars whose owners presumably can pay the extra cost at the pump without blinking.

The award for worst fuel economy goes to the Lamborghini Murcielago, which has a base MSRP of $392,400 and burns 34.3 barrels of oil a year, or $4,230 worth of gas, according to the EPA. The Prius, which carries a base sticker of $22,000, burns 6.9 barrels of oil annually, or $774 worth of gas.

To check out your vehicle’s fuel economy stats and compare them with other makes and models, go to fueleconomy.gov.

-- Martin Zimmerman

Photo: 2010 Ford Fusion hybrid

Photo credit: Ford Motor Co.

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