By the Numbers, Here are our Criteria
We've picked three offerings with hybrid and regular powertrain options, a popularly priced sedan and two luxury SUVs: the Ford Fusion, Mercedes-Benz ML (which has gasoline, hybrid, and diesel powertrain options), and the Lexus RX.
The numbers we'll use for the comparisons come from the EPA's website. Your fuel economy results and annual miles driven may vary, but EPA estimates are a reasonable baseline. EPA fuel economy figures are based on 55 percent city and 45 percent highway driving. Hybrid models often perform better in the city, in some cases operating on battery power alone, while diesels excel on the freeway. The EPA estimates that the average American drives approximately 15,000 miles annually. For our calculations, we'll use the national fuel price average of $2.93 per gallon for regular gas, $3.22 for premium, and $3.13 for diesel. Fuel prices were taken from AAA's fuel gauge report on the day this story was published.