According to a just-released study, car buyers want fuel efficient cars (Consumer Reports survey). That should come as no surprise to American car buyers fed up with high gasoline prices in recent months.

Even as gas prices are coming down a bit, the fact that 62 percent of those surveyed said they expected to choose a model with much better or somewhat better fuel economy and 58 percent of consumers surveyed said they’d pay more for a more fuel-efficient new car (and 49 percent for a more fuel-efficient used car), is fairly telling.

Fortunately, there are some very good choices available today for buyers looking for great fuel economy at affordable prices. To give you an example of the best fuel-efficient cars available, iSeeCars took a look at several models that get 40 mpg highway fuel economy or better.

  • 2011 Chevrolet CruzeA compact with the interior room of a midsize sedan, the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze has one model, Cruze Eco that achieves EPA ratings of 42 mpg on the highway, thanks to its powerful and efficient 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and other enhancements. With more passenger room than Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla – and more cargo space, the Chevy Cruze also has the most standard airbags of any small car – 10. The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze is a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) begins at $16,525. For May, Chevy Cruze was the best-selling small car in America with sales of 22,711.
  • 2012 Ford FocusThe second best-selling small car in the U.S. in May with sales of 22,303, the Ford Focus, especially Focus

    SE with SFE package, is right up there in the 40 mpg highway ranks. The 2012 Ford Focus SE pricing starts at $17,400, but you’ll need to add SFE package to that.

  • 2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid – Ford touts its 2012 Fusion Hybrid as the “most fuel-efficient midsize hybrid sedan in America,” and at an EPA-estimated 36 mpg city/41 mpg highway fuel economy, it’s easy to see why. The hybrid-electric motor and 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle inline four-cylinder engine have a combined 191 horsepower. Pricing for the 2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid begins at $28,600.
  • 2012 Hyundai ElantraThe five-passenger compact 2012 Hyundai Elantra GLS, with a base price of $15,195, achieves an EPA rating of 29 mpg city/40 mpg highway fuel economy. The Elantra is no bare-bones car, however, featuring 148-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine paired with six-speed automatic transmission, six standard airbags, four-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS), and more interior room than Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Nissan Maxima. In May, Elantra, another IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2011, was the number three best-selling small car in America with sales of 20,006.
  • 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid – While the gasoline-powered 2011 Hyundai Sonata achieves an EPA-estimated 33 mpg highway, for real fuel economy gains, go for the Sonata Hybrid, EPA rated at 35 mpg city/40 mpg highway. The Sonata Hybrid features a 206 net horsepower from its 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motor and has the most advanced lithium polymer battery available. Pricing for the 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid begins at $25,795. Hyundai Sonata is also an IIHS Top Safety Pick.

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