Car buyers urged to sort the thrifty from the thirsty

Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson |

Analysis reveals significant differences in fuel efficiency across different price ranges for cars.
Analysis reveals significant differences in fuel efficiency across different price ranges for cars.

Driving an electric car could save motorists more than $3400 a year in fuel, according to an analysis of more than 650 vehicles on Australian roads.

A report released by finance platform MNY also revealed the least fuel-efficient vehicle they tested was a luxury hybrid car, and found powerful, high-end sports cars were among the most expensive to drive.

The analysis comes as figures show the average cost of petrol has jumped again, and after the Australian Automobile Association revealed household transport costs rose faster than the cost of living.

MNY analysed 652 car models released since 2019 for its report, and assumed they travelled 14,000km a year, with fuel prices averaged across state and territories alongside a mix of home and public charging costs for electric vehicles.

The report named the 2019 Hyundai Ioniq as the most fuel-efficient vehicle on the market, with its annual running cost of $491 beating the popular Tesla Model 3 in second place by $63 a year.

Electric vehicles dominated the list of most efficient vehicles, taking up all 10 top spots, and MNY chief editor Sergiy Kyrychenko told AAP they would continue to be cheaper to run than petrol or hybrid vehicles even if fuel prices dropped or electricity prices rose.

“Interestingly, it would take the gas prices to drop by more than half in order to make electric and petrol vehicle equal,” he said.

“It would take quite a substantial change in gas prices to change the picture in terms of fuel efficiency.”

The analysis also found Hyundai made the most fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid vehicle, with its Ioniq costing $712 a year to run, while Toyota claimed the title of most efficient petrol hybrid with the Yaris ($952) and and petrol car with the Corolla Cross ($1240).

At the other end of the spectrum, MNY found BMW’s luxury Alpina hybrid wagon was the most expensive to run at $3977 a year, followed by the Porsche Macan SUV ($3331) and the Lotus Evora GT 430 ($3331).

High-end coupes and convertibles claimed three of the top 10 rankings for the least fuel-efficient cars, which Mr Kyrychenko said was largely due to their powerful engines.

He said all Australian motorists should investigate the fuel economy of potential car purchases, both to save money and lower emissions, and some inexpensive vehicles did offer lower running costs.

“Within any price range … there’s quite a range of fuel efficiency,” he said.

“You do not have to overpay.”

Figures from the Australian Institute of Petroleum showed the average price of petrol across the nation had risen to 188.5 cents at the end of January.

Data from the Australian Automobile Association showed average households were spending $415 a week on transport in September 2023, up from $381 a week the year before, with costs rising faster than the consumer price index.


1. Hyundai Ioniq (2019): $491

2. Tesla Model 3 (2020): $554

3. BMW i3 (2019): $575

4. Fiat 500e (2023): $605

5. Lexus UX 300e (2021): $630

6. Kia Niro (2021): $668

7. BYD Atto 3 (2022): $672

8. Mercedes-Benz EQA Class (2021): $680

9. MG ZS EV (2020): $680

10. Volvo C40 (2022): $706


1. BMW Alpina (2023): $3977

2. Porsche Macan (2021): $3331

3. Lotus Evora GT 430 (2019): $3331

4. Aston Martin DB11 (2020): $3234

5. Volkswagen Amarok (2023): $3201

6. Alpina B3 (2020): $3201

7. Land Rover L663 Defender (2022): $3082

8. Alfa Romeo Giulia (2021): $3104

9. Mercedes-Benz GLA Class (2020): $3104

10. Subaru BRZ (2022): $3072

Source: MNY