GREEN
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The 5 Most Affordable, Fuel Efficient Cars Of 2010

Guest Post by Dan Shapely from The Daily Green

The 2010 model year has more to offer the cost-conscious car buyer than ever before. There are 20 cars, SUVs and hatchbacks that get better than 30 mpg. But while each will save you money at the pump, many come at a premium (the hybrid versions of some models cost from $6,000 to $11,000 more than their gasoline-fueled counterparts).

Don't despair. If you're in the market for a new car, there are seven that both get better than 30 mpg and cost less than $20,000. Better, these five cost less than $15,000 (two even come in under $12,000). Of course, truly cost conscious consumers will want to look at used cars, which can also be a good choice for the environment (avoiding all the energy and materials that go into the manufacturing of a new car). Use fueleconomy.gov to compare the efficiency of used and new cars, or check out The Daily Green's list of the 10 most reliable and fuel-efficient used cars.

If you're buying new, look no further:

2010 kia rio

2010 Kia Rio

Price: $11,495

The manual Kia Rio gets 31 mpg without the benefit of a hybrid engine, keeping its cost low. (The automatic drive comes in at a combined 30 mpg, but does better on the highway.)

Stats

28 mpg city (27 automatic)

34 mpg highway (36 automatic)

$2.15 to drive 25 miles

$1,294 annual fuel cost

5.9 tons of CO2 annually

2010 smart fortwo

2010 Smart ForTwo

Price: $11,990

Whether you pick up the classic coupe or the convertible (no, it's not a golf cart), the Smart ForTwo's 36 mpg make it the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid car on the market. And at $11,990 it's also the most affordable. It was rated one of Greenopia's greenest cars of the year.

Stats

33 mpg city

41 mpg highway

$1.85 to drive 25 miles

$1,113 annual fuel cost

5.1 tons of CO2 annually

2010 toyota yaris

2010 Toyota Yaris

Price: $12,355

Whether the little Yaris you get is the 3-door hatch, the 5-door hatch (add $300) or the 5-door sedan (add $750), the little Yaris gets 32 mpg.

Stats

29 mpg city

36 mpg highway (35 for manual)

$2.09 to drive 25 miles

$1,254 annual fuel cost

5.7 tons of CO2 annually

2010 hyundai accent blue

2010 Hyundai Accent Blue

Price: $13,645

At 31 mpg, this new baseline version of the Accent (which otherwise gets 30 mpg) is among the more affordable fuel efficient 2010 cars.

Stats

27 mpg city

36 mpg highway

$2.15 to drive 25 miles

$1,294 annual fuel cost

5.9 tons of CO2 annually

2010 honda fit

2010 Honda Fit

Price: $14,900

If you're buying a new Fit, the automatic 5-speed gets the best mileage, with 31 mpg. It is rated one of the greenest cars of 2010 by Kelly Blue Book.

Stats

28 mpg city

35 mpg highway

$2.15 to drive 25 miles

$1,294 annual fuel cost

5.9 tons of CO2 annually

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