Best cars for Californians?

Time to get on the grid?


With fuel prices at record highs and on the verge of breaking the $6 barrier in some cities thanks to a production shortage, it may finally be make or break time for the electric car in California. There have never been more battery-powered cars on the market, many of which deliver the equivalent of 90 mpg or more. With the added bonus of HOV lane access, you could cruise on by a lot of gas stations in one of these. Just don't go too far off the grid, you'll eventually need to plug it in.

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in

The standard Prius is still the most fuel efficient car you can buy without a plug at 50 mpg, but add one and that jumps to 94 mpg with an all-electric range of about 13 miles per charge.

Price: $32,980, eligible for $2,500 federal tax credit.

Test Drive: Toyota Prius Plug-In

2013 Chevrolet Volt

The Volt was the first of the modern plug ins on the road and changes to its battery pack for 2013 have improved its combined fuel efficiency rating to 98 mpg an can go 38 miles on electricity alone.

Price: $39,995, eligible for $7,500 federal tax credit

Test Drive: 2012 Chevrolet Volt

2013 Ford C-Max Energi

Ford says its first plug-in hybrid will go 20 miles per charge in all-electric mode and have an EPA combined rating of 95 mpg when it goes on sale in the fall.

Price: $33,745, eligible for $3,750 federal tax credit

2012 Nissan Leaf

The all-electric Leaf has a range of 73 miles per charge and gets the equivalent of 99 mpg along the way.

Price: $35,200, eligible for $7,500 federal tax credit

Review: 2011 Nissan Leaf

2012 Ford Focus Electric

It's only available in certain markets, but the Focus Electric trumps the Leaf with a range of 76 miles per charge and combined efficiency rating of 105 mpg.

Price: $39,995, eligible for $7,500 federal tax credit

Quick Spin: 2012 Ford Focus Electric

2012 Mitsubishi i

It may only seat four and have a range of just 62 miles per charge, but the Mitsubishi i is the lowest-priced electric car you can buy and gets 112 mpg.

Price: $29,975, eligible for $7,500 federal tax credit

Future Drive: Mitsubishi i

2013 Honda Fit EV

All hail the king of efficiency, the Fit EV earned an EPA fuel economy rating of 118 mpg and has a range of 82 miles per charge.

Unfortunately, you can't buy one and Honda is only making 1,100 available in select markets on the coasts with a three-year lease price of $389 per month with no money down.

Best cars for Californians?

Time to get on the grid?

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