CONSUMER REPORTS - Rapid improvements in technology are making fuel-efficient cars more affordable. Consumer Reports highlighted the advancements at a conference at its headquarters.
As part of the event, more than a dozen car manufacturers braved the rain to showcase their latest fuel-efficient vehicles.
"Americans do not have to sacrifice affordability, comfort, or even the 'wow' factor when they're shopping for a gas-sipping car," Jim Guest, Consumer Reports president and CEO, said. "The fact is that fuel-efficient cars are better today than they have ever been and they'll be even better in the future."
Some of the most-affordable vehicles on display includes the roomy Toyota Prius V hybrid that gets 41 mpg overall in Consumer Reports' tests. It costs around $28,000.
The Mazda 6 gets 32 mpg overall -- impressive for a roomy, midsize sedan. It starts around $22,000.
The Chevrolet Cruze diesel gets a striking 45 to 50 mpg on the highway. It costs around $26,000.
"To see, you know, dozens of beautiful new vehicles out in the back parking lot to show that this isn't just policy in the ivory tower, but this is reality and this is the future that is a cleaner and safer one," David Strickland, NHTSA administrator, said.
Also, Consumer Reports tested the Tesla Model S. It represents the high-end option for those who want a sporty car thats easy on gas. The base price for this all-electric car starts at $60,000. It earned top ratings at Consumer Reports test track with the equivalent of a whopping 84 mpg.
NHTSA and Consumer Reports estimate the new fuel-efficiency standards will save car owners more than $1.7 trillion by the time they are fully implemented in 2025.
(Copyright © 2013 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. All Rights Reserved.)