Of the top 10 high-mileage hybrids, four get better than 50 mpg.

As one might imagine, given the affordable fuel prices we’ve enjoyed the last few years, fuel-sipping gas/electric hybrid-powered vehicles have tended to fall out of what was already only limited favor among new-car buyers. Though the 364,000 hybrids delivered last year represent a 4.9% boost over 2016, that’s only about 2% of the U.S. auto market and is far off the segment’s peak at over 495,000 units sold during 2013 (back when the national average price of gasoline stood at $3.62 a gallon). And that’s despite a flock of new and recent entries populating dealers’ showrooms.

But, as you may have noticed, gas prices have been creeping upward of late. At $2.59 a gallon on January 31, it’s nine cents higher than it was on January 1, and a full 32 cents more than it was a year earlier. The most expensive gallon of refined crude oil hails from California, where drivers pay an average $3.29; that’s a 49-cent jump over the last 12 months.

As gas prices climb higher, as is expected throughout 2018, hybrid vehicles should begin to look like better values, especially with the best of the bunch delivering fuel economy at or over 50 mpg, and manufacturers’ cash rebates and other incentives plentiful. The top performer here is the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid with an EPA-rated 57/59 mpg city/highway; it’s estimated to cost just $700 a year to run at today’s gas prices, which makes it $4,000 cheaper than the average ride to own over five years. 

In the meantime, we’re featuring the 10 most fuel-frugal hybrid-powered vehicles for 2018 in the accompanying slideshow; all prices include the manufacturer’s destination charge.

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