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Hybrid Hand-Me-Downs: Shop for Fuel-Efficient Used Cars

Just before the new year, the Environmental Protection Agency released definitive figures that the 2013 Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid takes the crown as the most fuel-efficient 4-door vehicle on the planet. Constructed with hybrid drivetrain, the Energi plug-in boasts a 108 MPGe rating, beating out the previous title-holder, the Toyota Prius plug-in, which uses 103 MPGe. Not only will you be saving the environment by driving one of these beauties Ford estimates that driving a Fusion Energi will save you $6850 in fuel costs compared to the money you would spend on an average new vehicle over five years. With these numbers, Ford planned to sell over 19,000 hybrid or electric vehicles in the last quarter of 2012, according to Edmunds.com.

Although buying a fuel-efficient vehicle like the Ford Fusion Energi might be the ideal, buying a new car may not be in your budget. Not to worry although the new vehicles are boasting greater gas mileage, there are plenty of phenomenal fuel-efficient used cars that can meet your needs. Using ConsumerReports.org used car-buying guides you can find a fuel-efficient pre-owned vehicle that meets your needs.

Toyota Prius (2004-2008)

Completely redesigned in 2004, the Toyota Prius gets upward of 45 MPG on the highway, which makes it one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles on earth. Since its reconstruction, the Prius has not changed much, aside from the newer hybrid models, which can also be a solid option as a used vehicle. The hybrid system also saves owners money with its eight-year/100,000-mile warranty. As for safety features, the Prius includes front as well as side-curtain airbags that make the Prius one of the safest vehicles on the road.

Honda Civic Hybrid (2004-2008)

Following the discontinuation of the hybrid's manual transmission in 2006, the Civic Hybrid was redesigned to allow 42-45 MPG on the highway. Like the Prius, the Civic Hybrid also includes side-airbags, an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty for the hybrid system, and the consistency of low maintenance repairs and long-lasting vehicles that come with the Honda brand.

Honda Insight (2001-2006)

The 2001 Honda Insight 2dr Hatchback w/AC (1.0L 3cyl Gas/Electric Hybrid CVT) vehicle has been referred to by owners as one of the most reliable vehicles on the road, according to USNews.com. At 51 MPG highway, the Insight is worth checking out. The 5-seed manual transmission car is fun to drive, and so light on the road, that it doesn't take a whole lot of engine power to move it around.

Toyota Corolla (2004-2008)

Consistent 34-37 MPG highway says it all. The Corolla is safe, reliable, and extremely economical. The best mileage comes with the manual transmission, which excludes the sporty XRS trim level model.

Acura RSX (2004-2006)

Who says fuel-efficient vehicles can't be sporty? The Acura RSX is a luxury coupe with 28-31 MPG that employs Acura's reliability and torso protection from side-impact airbags. The base model boasts slightly better mileage than the Type-S, but both serve as excellent gas-saving used car options.