Which Car Is the Biggest Bang for the Buck?

As drivers suffer sticker shock at the pump, many more are turning to hybrid vehicles for a fuel-efficient, money-saving alternative.

But in a new report, the consumer group Edmunds.com says hybrids aren't always the cheapest bet. The group rated the top 10 best car values, and there wasn't a single hybrid on the list.

"The cheapest vehicles to own are actually subcompact and compact cars, and not necessarily the hybrid vehicles," said Jesse Toprak from Edmunds.com.

The reason? Hybrids cost more than most compact cars.


The Toyota Prius hybrid averages 46 miles per gallon — the best fuel efficiency in America — and costs $22,000.

But the non-hybrid Chevrolet Aveo, rated as Edmunds' best buy, averages 27 miles per gallon and costs only $11,000.

Still, hybrids will save you money if you hold on to them long enough.

"On average it takes about five years to pay back the premium consumers pay on a hybrid vehicle," Toprak said.

Another option is the most fuel efficient non-hybrid, the Smart car. There's only room for two people, but it averages 37 miles per gallon.

Drivers have waited up to six months to get a Smart car, and when you're tooling around in the tiny car, you get noticed.

Besides the Chevrolet Aveo, Edmunds.com's list of the 10 most economic vehicles to own includes the Hyundai Accent, Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Honda Civic, Nissan Versa, Mazda MAZDA3, Kia Rio, Scion xB and Toyota Corolla.

A non-car option is the Vespa scooter — at 72 miles per gallon, sales are up 105 percent over last year.

Meanwhile, in Gas City, Ind., the mayor has made it legal to drive golf carts on the roads, which is illegal in most places.

"Everyday we hear complaints about the gas prices that we can't control," said Gas City Mayor Larry Leach.

So far 80 people have had their carts licensed. Even the mayor drives one.

"It does everything I need to do right here in town," said Leach.

Cost of Top-Rated Vehicles

"Good Morning America" calculated the monthly commuting costs of vehicles that topped the Edmunds list of best cars, as well as some other fuel-efficient vehicles.

"GMA" based its calculations on a recent ABC News poll, which found the typical commute to work in the United States is 32 miles round trip, over about 20.5 days each month — that's 656 miles per month. The national average for a gallon of regular is $4.08.

Toyota Prius
Manufactuer's Suggested Retail Price: $21,500
Monthly Communting Cost: $58.18

Smart Car for Two
MSRP: $11,590
Monthly Commuting Cost: $70.40

Portia Electric Bicycle
MRSP: $999
Monthly Commuting Cost: $1.19

Vespa S-150
MSRP: $4,099
Monthly Commuting Cost: $38.20

Golf Cart (about 40 mpg)
MSRP: $5,000 - $7,000
Monthly Commuting Cost: $66.90

Click here to see Edmunds Green Car Guide.