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10 cars to save you £££s at the pumps

Vauxhall AmperaBeat spiralling petrol prices with these pump-busters. We round-up the top 10 petrol, diesel, hybrid and electric cars that could save you a fortune on the forecourts.

The Petrol Retailers Association last month warned of another hike in the cost of fuel if an increase in wholesale prices is passed on to the consumer.

This would be yet another blow to the penny-pinched motorist, who already forks out more each year for fuel, car insurance, and vehicle tax.

And that's not to mention the various congestion charges, parking permits and toll roads costs that drivers have to contend with.

How many miles per gallon?

Thankfully, modern cars are constantly improving on their miles per gallon figure (mpg).

So today, it's fairly easy to find a vehicle that can hit 60+ mpg without sacrificing comfort, style and performance.

Here are some of the most economical cars, to suit all lifestyles, that money can buy.

1. Vauxhall Ampera

The Vauxhall Ampera, pictured above, is the current European Car of the Year. It blends sharp, futuristic styling with an astronomical 234.4mpg (combined) figure.

The mpg (combined) figure is the average of the Urban Cycle (mpg when the car is cold) and the Extra Urban Cycle (mpg when the car is warmer and at higher speeds).

The Vauxhall Ampera achieves its impressive 234.4mpg (combined) by using a conventional combustion engine that acts as a generator to charge the batteries that run the electric motors.

Around 40 miles can be covered on battery power alone, meaning short trips to the shops won't involve any petrol at all.

2. Toyota Yaris Hybrid

Toyota Yaris HybridThis chic city car cleverly combines a 1.5 litre petrol engine with an electric motor to achieve a wallet-pleasing 80.7mpg (combined).

It works much like the Toyota Prius, using electric motors and battery power at slower speeds and drawing on the petrol engine when more muscle is needed.

The 83g/km CO2 emissions mean it avoids road tax, too.

3. Renault Clio 1.5 dCi 90 ECO

Renault Clio ECOThe French hatchback is proof that not all economical cars need to include cutting-edge hybrid technology.

This frugal diesel can return 88.3mpg (combined) yet still boasts the strong performance and precise handling modern Renaults are famed for.

4. Fiat 500 TwinAir

Fiat 500 TwinairIt's stylish, it's fun and it can return 68.9mpg while performing like the true supermini it is.

But how does the tiny Fiat do this?

Well, the 900cc TwinAir engine uses the latest technology that effectively manages the amount of air entering the engine, improving efficiency but providing grin-inducing, turbocharged performance.

5. Tesla Roadster

Tesla RoadsterNot all sports cars need to be a constant drain on the wallet.

The all-electric Tesla Roadster looks just like Lotus it is based on yet runs solely on battery power, meaning it can tear up the Tarmac for 245 miles on a single charge.

When you're done tackling the twisty roads, simply plug it in to a standard socket and re-fill the batteries for the next country blast. It will only cost a few pence per trip.

6. Smart ForTwo CDI

Smart For TwoThe miniscule Smart car certainly won't be to everyone's taste but it simply cannot be matched for its city-conquering capabilities.

The boxy dimensions mean it can fit in parking spaces most other cars would consider too small and this diesel version returns 83.1mpg (combined).

It gets a bit bumpy on longer journeys though, and the engine could do with refinement.

7. Skoda Octavia 1.6 TDI 105 Greenline

Skoda Octavia GreenlineEconomical cars don't have to compromise on space, as this brilliant Skoda proves.

It offers the comfort, practicality and refinement of a large family car, yet returns the sort of fuel economy figures you'd most likely relate to a frugal supermini.

It returns 74.3mpg (combined) from the strong 1.6 litre diesel engine, space for five and a boot big enough for two sets of golf clubs. What's not to like?

8. Renault Megane 1.5 dCi 110 Stop and Start

Renault Megane Stop and StartThe stylish new Megane not only looks seductive, thanks to a thorough facelift, but the new range of brilliant diesel engines is almost unrivalled for fuel economy.

The 80.7mpg (combined) is achieved though Stop/Start technology that cuts out the engine when stationary, and cutting-edge engine design.

9. Citroen DS5 DSign Hybrid4 200 Airdream

Citroen DS5Citroen's stylish DS5 signifies a return to form for the French car maker.

Stylish and individual, it makes a great purchase when combined with the 200hp Hybrid4 diesel-electric powertrain.

The vital statistics are 80.7mpg and just 91g/km of CO2 – which proves fashionable doesn't have to mean expensive to run.

10. Toyota Prius Plug-in

Toyota Prius Plug-in

The Prius has divided opinion among car lovers since it was first launched.

But while Toyota may have designed the Prius to look like the "anti-car", that doesn't stop it being a brilliantly economical alternative to petrol-engined machines.

The Plug-in version has bigger batteries that can be charged from a standard plug to increase the range to a staggering 134.5mpg.


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Leon Poultney

Leon Poultney

Leon Poultney has been covering motoring for nearly a decade, with work appearing in men's lifestyle titles such as ShortList, Maxim and ZOO. He helped edit Sunday Times Driving and currently edits AOL Cars.

Read more from Leon