Thrifty Near 30 MPG: Top 15 Gas Sippers

1. Toyota Prius ($22,175; 48 city/45 hwy; Safety: 4-5 stars) – More than a status symbol among environmentalists and celebrities, the Prius is also a very accommodating passenger car.

2. Honda Civic Hybrid ($22,600; 40 city/45 hwy; Safety: 4-5 stars) – The Civic Hybrid is just about as comfortable and stylish as a compact sedan can be, with little sacrifice in drivability.

3. Nissan Altima Hybrid ($26,140; 35 city/33 hwy; Safety: 4-5 stars) – The Altima employs technology developed by Toyota – the solidly proven Hybrid Synergy Drive. It’s only available in eight states.

4. Toyota Camry Hybrid ($25,860; 33 city/34 hwy; Safety: 4-5 stars) – The best-selling car in America is also available as the most fuel-efficient midsize sedan on the road.

5. Ford Escape Hybrid, also the Mercury Mariner Hybrid and Mazda Tribute Hybrid ($25,310 - $28,140; 32 avg mpg; Safety: 3-5 stars) – If cars like the Prius and Civic Hybrid are too small for your daily needs, the Escape Hybrid may be the solution to your problem.

6. Mini Cooper Clubman ($24,100; 26 city/34 hwy; Safety: NA) – In place of a hatchback, it has rear side-hinged “barn” doors that open wide to swallow cargo.

7. Mercedes E320 BlueTec clean diesel ($53,025; 23 city/32 hwy; Safety: 4-5 stars) – The E-Class lineup gets cleaner, sportier and more powerful to better compete in what has become one of the most competitive segments in the industry.

8. Kia Rio ($13,540; 27 city/32 hwy; Safety: 3-5 stars) – Frugal-minded buyers should be impressed by the Rio5, which yields a good balance between fuel economy and performance.

9. Ford Focus ($15,425; 24 city/35 hwy; Safety: 4-5 stars) – Comprehensive restyling and retuning give the Focus a more contemporary flair and better handling.

10. Toyota Matrix ($16,170; 26 city/33 hwy; Safety: 3-5 stars) – If you’re on an economy-car budget, but you want something sporty and versatile, the 2008 Toyota Matrix deserves a close look.

11. Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid ($24,545; 24 city/32 hwy / Safety: 4-5 stars) – The Malibu’s bold, attractive sheet metal and stylish interior touches are backed by confident handling, a quiet ride and an overall level of refinement competitive with the category's best.

12. Saturn Vue Green Line ($26,270; 25 city/32 hwy; Safety: 4-5 stars) – The Vue Green Line features a hybrid system that puts more emphasis on power enhancement than fuel economy.

13. Saturn Aura Green Line ($24,550; 24 city/32 hwy; Safety: 4-5 stars) – Even as Saturn begins unleashing its most appealing cars ever, the automaker has committed to maintaining its popular “no haggle” pricing policy.

14. Lexus RX 400h ($42,345; 27 city/24 hwy; Safety: 4-5 stars) – Better fuel economy, better performance and an even tidier carbon footprint than an RX 350 help make the RX 400h a popular pick with those who demand practical justifications for raising their social consciousness.

15. Toyota Highlander Hybrid ($34,885; 27 city/25 hwy; Safety: 4-5 stars) – The Toyota Highlander Hybrid is the only fuel-sipper to offer families three-rows of seats that fold flat to accommodate the extra cargo that often accompanies fun-loving families.