We’re starting to see production vehicles that are economical in terms of fuel consumption, but when you look to the future you really see cars with the highest gas mileage. The most efficient of the bunch are usually concept cars, but there are some that are nearly on the market, too.
- Chevrolet Volt - Although it started as a concept car, the Chevy Volt is on the verge of becoming a production vehicle. The release should be November of 2010. A plug in hybrid, this car runs entirely on electricity for trips of forty miles or less, but has a small gasoline powered engine that kicks in to provide power and charge the battery beyond that point.
- Volkswagen L1 - Volkswagen at one time had planned to have the L1 on the market by 2011, but have now pushed it back to 2013. Although it is a gasoline powered engine, the L1 is stripped down to the point of bare minimum in size. Volkswagen claims that it allows to the L1 to get nearly 240 miles per gallon.
- Hummer H3 Hybrid - It might seem impossible, but Hummer has plans for 2011 production of an H3 Hybrid. They claim the vehicle will get 100 miles per gallon.
- Nissan Leaf - The Nissan Leaf is still a concept, but should be hitting the market in 2010, probably around the same time as the Chevrolet Volt. It is the first full production completely electric car from a major manufacturer. This car uses no gasoline and runs entirely on electricity provided by plugging it into an outlet. That means it also creates zero emissions.
- Honda FCX Clarity - Honda's FCX Clarity is still a concept car, but they have been releasing small numbers of the vehicles to high profile environmentally conscious drivers. It is a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, meaning it uses hydrogen (instead of gasoline or diesel) to generate electricity to power the car. The only waste product created in this process is water vapor, making the car essentially a zero emissions vehicle.
Hybrid cars were the first major step towards more fuel efficiency. At the same time, other types of cars were being touted as concept cars. Some of those concepts are now quite close to becoming production vehicles. It's all part of the journey to a gasoline free vehicle fleet that produces zero emissions.