Top 10 Cars with the Worst Fuel Mileage
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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Most drivers are looking for vehicles with good gas mileage. Auto manufacturers have gotten the message and are rolling out hybrids and electric cars which are pushing fuel economy into the future. However, not all of the newer vehicles are gasoline savers.
Some cars still have lousy fuel mileage considering the technology available. Not all of them are high performance luxury cars, either! Though Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin and Mercedes Benz produce some of the biggest gas guzzlers on the market, those who can afford a $150,000 vehicle really aren’t concerned when gas prices reach $4 a gallon or higher.
Some real gas hogs exist in the vehicle classes within reach of the average driver. The top 10 cars with the worst fuel mileage are mainly vehicles with big engines that gobble gas at an alarming rate. Generally, the higher level trims of most vehicles are the worst offenders, because they have larger engines, more cylinders and performance options that create power at the expense of gas mileage.
Cars with the Worst Gas Mileage Priced Between $46,000 and $50,000
Inexpensive cars and fuel economy generally go hand in hand, since drivers with modest budgets are looking to save money on all fronts. People who are willing to pay more for a vehicle are usually looking for something with some horsepower and attitude.
#1 – Cadillac CTS Wagon
Cadillac is well renowned for its American luxury cars, but they have certainly stepped up to the plate when it comes to fuel efficient hybrids and improved fuel economy. This does not apply to the CTS Wagon, which has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MRSP) starting at $49,750. The highest trim has a 6.2L 8 cylinder engine that just loves to burn up gas.
FuelEfficiency.gov, a U.S. Dept. of Energy website that gives information concerning fuel economy, lists the highest trim CTS Wagon’s city driving mileage at a measly 12 miles per gallon for city driving and 18 mpg on the highway. That’s a combined fuel efficiency of 14 mpg with the necessity of using only premium gasoline.
#2 – Chevy Corvette
The basic 2012 Corvette, the LT1, is just under the affordable price line with an MRSP of $49,600. Its 6.2L, 8 cylinder engine creates 430 horsepower and 424 lbs. of torque that can reach a top speed of over 190 mph. The Corvette also has unimpressive gas mileage, with 16 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. On a brighter note, the manual transmission on the basic model does add one more mpg for both city and highway driving over the more expensive automatic transmission option.
#3 – Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
The Ford Mustang has been the poster child for affordable, fast cars with a lot of horsepower. However, Ford has been working to make their fast cars a little bit more fuel efficient, reaching into the 30 mpg bracket for highway driving with some of the smaller engines. The Shelby GT500 Mustang doesn’t have a smaller engine.
The fuel mileage gets lower as the 11 trim levels offered for the Mustang get more expensive. With an MSRP of $48,810, the Shelby GT500 is only less expensive than the equivalent convertible model. It carries a 5.4L supercharged V8 engine that uses a 6 speed manual transmission. All of that power results in a gas gulping 15 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.
#4 – Dodge Charger
Dodge’s aim with the reintroduced Charger was to bring back the soul and style of the muscle car. They also brought back the poor gas mileage. While the fuel efficiency is not as bad as the single digits of the classic cars of the 1960s and 1970s, the 2012 Charger gets only 14 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.
It has an MSRP of $47,295.
Its 6.4L Hemi V8 engine puts out a whopping 470 horsepower that will really burn some rubber and consume a lot of gas. The 5 speed automatic transmission doesn’t improve the fuel economy of the vehicle, either.
Cars with the Worst Gas Mileage Priced Between $40,000 and $45,000
This price range is still at the level where buyers expect to get some bang for their buck in terms of power and performance. Of course it all comes at the cost of high fuel prices.
#5 – Dodge Challenger
Dodge also revitalized another muscle car from the 1960s and 1970s, the Challenger. Again, the basic models have decent fuel mileage for such a car, but the high-trim options really uses up the octane. The Challenger SRT8 392 has a 6.4L Hemi V8 engine that is 392 cubic inches, 470 horsepower, and can go from zero to 60 mph in under five seconds.
At a starting MSRP of $45,495, the Challenger SRT8 392 is available in either 5 speed automatic or 6 speed manual transmissions. Both get terrible gas mileage! The automatic transmission gets 14 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway; the manual transmission only adds one more mpg for highway driving.
#6 – Hyundai Genesis
Hyundai traditionally has decent fuel economy in most of its vehicles, but the higher trim model for the Genesis has some performance options that really bring the fuel mileage down. Starting at $45,500 MSRP, it has a 5.0L, V8 engine that puts out an impressive 429 horsepower and 376 lbs. of torque.
All that horsepower and torque make for a fast machine with crummy fuel mileage. The automatic transmission option gets a mere 16 mpg for city driving and 25 mpg for highway driving. The manual transmission boosts both those numbers by only one mpg.
Cars with the Worst Gas Mileage Priced Under $40,000
Once vehicles start to get into the $30,000 range, there is some stiff competition from vehicles that have similar engines but get much better gas mileage.
#7 – Chrysler 300C
Chrysler’s luxury full size sedan, the 300, generally has good fuel economy that exceeds 30 mpg. However, the higher trims have options that jack up the power and ruin any fuel efficiency. The 300C has a starting MSRP of $38,470, and it is the first in the three higher trims that only get 16 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. The 5.7L V8 Hemi engine that is found in the higher trims is real gas guzzler.
#8 – Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR
Mitsubishi is another auto manufacturer that has mostly very fuel efficient vehicles. The fuel economy for the Lancer Evolution makes the vehicle stick out like a sore thumb when compared to the other vehicles offered by Mitsubishi.
The Lancer Evolution has an MSRP from $34,495 to $37,695, depending on the trim. It features a 2.0L 4 cylinder engine that is turbocharged, which seems to be the only clue as to why such a small engine has such low fuel economy. That little engine puts out 291 horsepower, according to Mitsubishi, and the 6 speed twin clutch transmission gets only 17 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. The 5 speed manual transmission model allows a driver to realize one more mpg on the highway.
#9 – Chevy Camaro Coupe
The Camaro is another muscle car that was brought back to much acclaim and approval. Just like the Mustang, Challenger and Charger, the base trim models all have very decent gas mileage for sports cars. However, the two higher trims of the Camaro, the 1SS and 2SS, have a V8 rather than a V6. This bigger engine has much lower fuel efficiency than the less expensive models.
With an MSRP of $32,830 -$36,430, the higher trims fall into a whole different category than the base trim that starts at $23,280. The engine is a much larger 6.2L 376 cubic inch powertrain. The Camaro Coupe puts out 426 horsepower and only gets 16 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.
#10 – Subaru Impreza WRX
The Impreza WRX is Subaru’s vehicle that displays the manufacturer’s racing chops. Subaru is usually known for their vehicles’ safety and decent fuel economy, but this Subaru vehicle is a racer at heart.
The upper two trims for the Impreza WRX, the STI and STI Limited, feature Subaru’s Boxer engine that puts out 305 horsepower. Priced between $34,095 and $37,445, both trim levels still get a disappointing 17 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.