Updated date:

Everything You Want to Know About Smart Cars and Their Gas Mileage

Focusing on finding energy alternatives and saving the environment, Jim likes to consider ways in which the cars we drive have an impact.

Dealer's blue Smart Car Side View

Dealer's blue Smart Car Side View

Smart Car Fuel and Mileage

You may have noticed the Smart Cars at some of your local car dealerships. Have you seen those small, funny-looking cars reminiscent of the '70s oil crisis? Well here's everything you want to know about the Smart Car.

Smart Car MPG

Smart Cars get excellent gas mileage at around 40 MPG, and they weigh 700 pounds less than almost any other American car. They're also relatively cheap! At $12,000, many can afford a new one.

How far can you drive a Smart Car before stopping for gas?

So since the Smart Car ForTwo has a fuel tank capacity of 8.7 gallons (including a 1.3 gallon reserve) and gets around 40 miles per gallon (MPG), you can squeeze out about 350 miles before stopping for gas.

Smart Car Gas Usage

Fuel-injected, of course, but don't put regular 87 octane in this baby. You'll need to pay extra to use the manufacturer's recommended (mandated?) minimum of 91 octane. Does that wipe out the savings you get from the fuel efficiency? Don't forget to take that into consideration when forking your precious money over to the dealer. It may cost more in the long run to buy and operate a ForTwo than keeping your current vehicle.

Smart Car ForTwo: Details

How fast does a Smart Car go?

The Smart Car ForTwo's speed is regulated and capped at about 90 miles per hour (MPH). If you're looking to race your neighbor, acceleration is gauged at 0-60 in about 12.8 seconds. That makes the Smart Car faster than my Hyundai was back in high school, but probably slower than my hand-me-down 1976 Ford Granada Ghia 302 4-door sedan (am I dating myself?).

The Smart Car Engine

Its engine displacement is one liter, and it has three cylinders. If you're not impressed, it does have four valves per cylinder! The Smart Car ForTwo is rated at about 70 HP, and has 68 lb ft of torque.

Oil and Transmission

It takes about 3.5 quarts of oil, including the filter. It looks like it has five "fun automated manual" gear transmission, however! You can put the Smart Car ForTwo's transmission in fully automatic, or you can use the plus/minus gate on the gearshift. The "fully automatic" mode gives the passenger (there can be only one passenger) and driver quite the experience. It's a bit jerky. As one site says, “What that means is that you drive the ForTwo like you would a regular automatic, but the transmission lurches through gear changes with the awkwardness of a 15-year-old learning stick on his brother's Corolla.” Awesome description!

The Interior

The interior of a Smart Car is cozy and comfortable. A lot of thought went into the design for spacious seating and leg, head, and cargo room. There is soft padding on the pillars and ceiling. The cargo area is around 12 cubic feet if you stack it all the way to the top; a little more than half that if you stack to the belt line.

Smart Car Interior - Driver's Side

Smart Car Interior - Driver's Side

But Is a Smart Car Safe?

Actually, they're among the safest cars on the road in the compact category.

How safe is a Smart Car compared to a midsize or large car?

How safe is the compact category of car? Well, it's always better to be bigger in an accident. If one of these Smart Cars goes headlong into a Hummer, the Hummer's going to win. You pay a price for all that protection, however: gas, insurance, the cost of the vehicle itself, maintenance, the cost to fix it were it in an accident, etc.

So, are you better off buying a Smart Car over keeping your 1998 V8? Well, it depends on your goals. If you want to help save the environment, then choose the Smart Car.

Is Buying a Smart Car Good for the Environment?

Yes, it's true: a Smart Car has less negative impact on the environment than a regular gas car. Still, don't forget that making a Smart Car still costs the environment quite a bit in energy and raw materials, resources that keeping your old vehicle wouldn't consume. It costs the environment more in resources for you to buy a brand new Smart Car than the amount of gas you'll save by switching. If you're thinking that you'll just buy a used one (since it was already made, you're not impacting the environment), ask yourself if you would really want a used Smart Car.

What about you?

Smart Car Trunk Space

Smart Car Trunk Space

How to Improve Your Gas Mileage

What are some ways to avoid dropping twelve grand on a car you might not want to be caught dead in? (No pun intended.) Well, start by improving your own gas mileage! Try the following steps to improve your gas mileage, in your old car or your new one:

  • Increase your car's tire pressure (up to maximum manufacturer's recommendation)
  • Get your alignment checked (and balanced while you're there)
  • Don't buy heavily treaded tires (if you needed to change your tires)
  • If you do buy new tires, splurge and get the metal valve stems
  • Change your air filter
  • Get a high performance (reusable/washable) air filter
  • Reduce wind resistance (install truck bed "tonneau" covers)
  • Reduce weight in your vehicle
  • Drive less aggressively
  • Change your oil
Dealer's Yellow Smart Car

Dealer's Yellow Smart Car

Ways to Improve Any Car's MPG

  1. The number one, easiest, cheapest way to increase any car's gas mileage is to check your air pressure. On the door frame of most vehicles, there's a sticker that tells you the recommended air pressure. Choose the higher number unless you're driving from a cold environment to a much hotter one. A higher-pressure tire makes your engine work less. If you're trying to navigate sand or mud, reduce your tire pressure, but if you're trying to navigate a road, higher tire pressures are the way to go.
  2. Make sure your tires are aligned. An improper alignment makes your engine work harder and ruins your tires!
  3. Check your tire tread. Brand new tires have a lot of tread, and this is a good thing for safety. However, unless you're going muddin', don't purposefully get heavily treaded tires. The bigger the tire, the worse your gas mileage.
  4. If you need new tires, pay the extra money for the metal valve stems. I opted for this extra feature and my tires seem to hold the same pressure from month to month, whereas before they would slowly deflate over time.
  5. Change your air filter. If your air filter is clogged, the engine needs to use more gas to compensate. Giving your engine lots of air is a big plus.
  6. Use a high-performance air filter. A lot of them are washable and last for tens of thousands of miles before they need cleaning. The fabric and/or foam performance air filters allow more air to pass through them than the ones made of paper and, as previously mentioned, more air is better for your engine.
  7. A new vehicle is probably about as air-flow-efficient as it will ever be. A Smart Car's wind resistance is designed for maximum MPG. Manufacturers spend money putting your car in wind tunnels to see how it'll perform. However, if you've added accessories to your vehicle or own a truck with a bed, you may consider trying to mitigate the air resistance these items generate. There are bed covers that snap onto the bed of your truck that help the air flow. Don't try to just drop the tailgate, as this actually makes your gas mileage worse and it's less safe and more likely to incur tailgate damage. Believe it or not, the bed of your truck creates its own circular pattern of air that actually makes the truck bed less wind-resistant (a good thing). However, a truck bed cover eliminates this problem altogether.
  8. Reduce the weight in your vehicle. If you're carrying tools, water jugs, or anything else that weighs 50 pounds or more and that you don't need every day, you might want to keep those things in your garage or shed. Don't forget, a Smart Cart can really only accommodate around 500 pounds, so extra weight will not only eat up your gas, but it will make the engine work harder and keep it from accelerating as quickly.
  9. Drive less aggressively. A heavy foot is often the cause of accidents, wear and tear on your vehicle and engine, and heavier gas use. Just ask anyone who has owned a high performance vehicle or truck/SUV owner. If they punch the gas pedal and try to burn rubber, they can see the gas gauge drop before their very eyes!
  10. Slow down! If you drive over 60, you may be using more gas than you need to. The faster a car goes, the more wind resistance it creates. It's actually exponentially more air resistance. You may think that you go more miles in a shorter period of time and thus use less gas, but it doesn't work like that because of the air resistance.
  11. Change your oil. You should be doing this anyway for many different reasons, but, again, the harder your engine has to work to get you wherever you want to go, the more gas it will consume. Also dirty, gunked-up oil doesn't help your engine's efficiency (or its longevity). Use the manufacturer's recommended weighted oil. Using a thicker oil than you need also makes your engine work harder, translating into more gas consumption.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


Trucker on August 22, 2020:

Do they make an all-wheel-drive smart car? Or a four-wheel drive?

Ken on January 08, 2020:

I have had two Smart cars, a 2008 and a 2016 which I now drive. People don't always realize that these marvels have six air bags and in crash tests are the equal of a mid-size American car. They run adequately on 89-octane fuel (will run on 87 but mileage and power go down). They have a very clean exhaust and no visible emissions. They handle superbly in snow due to rear engine and rear-wheel drive. They are comfortable to drive all day long. A major disadvantage is that motorists in large cars tend to ignore them and treat them like golf carts and jump in front, weave around, and treat them as if they didn't matter. I was in Berlin, Germany, last year and about every 12th car is a Smart! There is no equivalent on American roads.

S. Courtney on November 06, 2019:

I accidentally added 4 gallons of regular gas to my Smart For Two. Does that hurt anything? I've had it since 2008 and this is the first time I made that mistake.

Nolo on April 11, 2019:

Im happy to owned 2 smart car i loved them and i live in ct great in the snow.

k9gardner on March 17, 2019:

I don’t think there’s much incentive to buy the Smart ForTwo if you don’t live in a city where you have to find parallel parking on the street. That means NYC, for sure, where I live. The parking spaces on the residential streets are not marked off, for those who have never been here. It’s just finding a gap big enough to wedge your car into. As I walk around and see some places where Smarts are parked, I know their owners/drivers must have felt victorious, reprieved, as they locked the door and walked home or to the office, knowing that all the other suckers are still out there circling the blocks, looking for a space big enough, or else for someone to be just leaving a spot. If you’ve never experienced this, the Smart may not be for you. If you have, you’ll know why almost nothing else about the car matters but the fact that it fits where others don’t.

Kwytaqt on January 17, 2019:

I drive a Smart Fortwo and love it. Lots of hills and curves in Kentucky and this baby hugs the road. Does well in snow. The front seat lets down and I can pack a ton of stuff in it. My only complaint, as others have noted, is the gas mileage. For its size, it really should get much better mileage. (I've never used anything but 87 octane and haven't had any problems. Knock on wood.)

Ejazulhaq on November 06, 2018:

smart car crash 70 gms

AndronicosPalaeologos@gmail.com on July 26, 2018:

Yes Thank You

Javier on March 14, 2018:

The smart car gas mpg is pathetically disappointing. It should have 60+ mpg.

That is the only way I would inconvenience myself with such a poor quality extremely small car.

Elizabeth on June 28, 2012:

Jim, It looks like all 3,000 something comments want to load that's why we can not post.

Elizabeth on June 27, 2012:

Jim, I can't post anymore on your other hub (Dinar). Something is wrong. Elizabeth

Sterling111 on May 18, 2012:


Kathy from The beautiful Napa Valley, California on May 14, 2012:

This is GREAT information...and guess what? I 'searched'' Bing for "411" on Smart Cars and gas / MPH and YOUR Hub popped up...it works! Great article..you answered my questionns and I feel much more informed. Thank you very much! UP Awesome Useful and Interesting!!

Ruth M on April 21, 2012:

I am a Smart Car owner since 08. I live 50 kms from work. I've put almost 100,000 kms on my car and my only real complaints come from fuel costs (premium vs. regular) and the wind shield/ sun visor. My husband says the gas tank is small and it still costs less then $40. to fill. I am happy to own one, get to enjoy the nice weather with the top down and I think that if I could move from a mini van to a Smart for it's fuel economy and ability to park almost anywhere others could as well. I haven't tried the diesel ones, but, I've been told that they d/c making them for sale in Canada in 2008. I don't need a bigger vehicle most of the time and this suits my current lifestyle. If I worried about everyone else on the highway, I would have a hard time getting to work. The bottom line, I like it.

Pablo midwest on April 21, 2012:

We have had a smart car since 2008 and it's great. No issues with over 30,000 miles on it. We use it as a piece of advertising on the road and it works. Our other vehicles are an Escalade, BMW and several Chevy pick ups. By far the most fun to drive is the Smart car.

arc on April 16, 2012:

To be fair, in the U.S cars are bigger then in Europe, fuel is cheaper than in Europe and it is a fact that

the U.S uses more of the planets resources than any other country.

when the planet heats up, your all going to move north right?

anyway back to the smart car. I have had a diesel smart for around 3 years, it takes a little over £50 to fill it up, I live on the south east cost of England and went to Scotland, which was a mile or two short of 500 miles, I had 3 litres left in my tank and did 70 mph most of the way.

In the UK we pay around 80% tax on fuel, so the more fuel you buy, the more TAX you pay.

The Smart is very comfortable on UK motorways, as they are pretty smooth. Obviously if the road has bumps, then you will feel the bumps in a smart, as you would with any car that has hard suspension.

Smaller cars are safer if everyone else switches to smaller cars, if everyone drives a hummer, then there is no safety advantage in driving a hummer. So what, a car safety arms race?

in fact I just looked at a jpeg having keyed Hummer into google, take a look!!!!

what happened to the rest of the Hummer.

yes, Hummer and smart car no contest, but looks like more chances of hitting the back of a bus,

Bob on March 14, 2012:

And they say that this is good gas mileage. I had a 1992 Geo Metro that got 50 miles per gallon. That was 20 years ago and now they are saying that 40 is excellent, come on. This car ought to be getting around 70 mpg it weighs less and is smaller than the Metro every was. Just wrong that they are selling these so called high mileage vehicles to young people who don't know better.

jimcrowthers (author) from Port Charlotte on March 09, 2012:

Thank you for your comments! Smart Cars are a thing to behold, aren't they, JediAyn?

JediAyn on March 09, 2012:

I have trouble getting anywhere in my new Smart car because everyone wants to talk to me about it, and sit in it. When I come out of the store there is a circle of guys around it. Most believe it plugs in. It came home from the city (65mi) at 75mph, no trouble. I have a Dodge Grand Caravan for the big stuff. I love both!

StevnJessie1 on February 13, 2012:

2 years driving the Fortwo. I've taken it on 1600 mile round trips with no trouble at all. The master of the road in the city. The only problem are those lethargic things in the way. SUVs. Impress me with all the noise you can produce, but you're only as fast as the guy in front of you.

Roy on January 26, 2012:

This article was mediocre and unbalanced.

NA on January 25, 2012:

We american's don't like no good gas mileages. Keep them foreign bourn cars outta here. BUSH CHENEY!! If you don't like it, we'll invade, steal all your damn resources. Wo wo wo! USA USA USA !!!

jimcrowthers (author) from Port Charlotte on January 19, 2012:

Thank you, OldMosquitoMan. As I get older, I'm finding my driving habits have become much more conservative, and my gas mileage keeps increasing. On long trips, especially, I can get 20+ MPG (which is horrible, I agree, but adds an extra 100+ miles between tank fillups).

OldMosquitoMan on January 19, 2012:

Miles per gallon needs to be equated with the type of driving. The driver who got such tremendous mileage may have been driving non-stop on an interstate highway. Local traffic requires starting and stopping, up shifting and down shifting, actions that keep the car from running at steady speed. Some years back my wife and I drove from New Jersey to Virginia, interstates all the way in a 2001 Accent GLS with the A/C on all the way. The mileage was 44 mpg, something I never approached driving locally.

The questions about the Smart's safety don't seem to take cognizance of the Mercedes design that has an integral passenger compartment that is supposed to protect driver and passenger in the event of front or rear end collisions.

jimcrowthers (author) from Port Charlotte on January 18, 2012:

Thank you for your comments!

I guess it is, indeed, too early to tell if the Smart Car will last ten or more years on the road like my truck has. My apologies for making such an assumption. And, I agree, the gas bills for my truck are somewhat insurmountable, but I sure feel safe in it. {grin}

JohnnyAmerica on January 18, 2012:

After reading this article, I have to point out a gross error. This is not a disposable car. Even a used Smart Car is not a disposable car. The Yugo was a disposable car but the Smart Car is not. I've been driving one for for a month now and I can't wait to get 2 more in my garage. It is a great commuter car and it is nice to be getting around 49 miles per gallon. See you guys at the gas pump when the Republican backed Wall Street day traders have you paying in excess of 5 dollars per gallon this summer.

Sticking with more metal on January 13, 2012:

I will continue to drive the larger vehicle and keep the safety factor #1 in my world. Saving $$ compared to dying in a tuna can is just not a chance I'm willing to take! Small-minded and selfish? Probably, but I can live with that...

brod2504 on December 17, 2011:

I much rather drive a tdi Jetta big boot room for four passengers and Apr makes a sick exhaust. For em I've even seen a road test that achieved 80 mpg

tony ozone killer on November 03, 2011:

It might be a smart car but you look stupid driving it.This tree hugger piece of shit couldn't make it up a steep hill.Give me old american muscle v8 with no catalytic converters anytime.Drill baby drill.

Me,Myself,and I on October 17, 2011:

My 1986 BMW 325ES got 34 MPGs with a 6 cylinder. It was a four seater, and the back seat was just fine at the drive in.

Come on smart car, you can do better than 40.

ICU on September 30, 2011:

I own a European Smart Car and it is great. :)

It's yellow and it's so adorable!

My boyfriend and I drive it all the time and we have been trying to calculate how many miles it is to the gallon. Though it was just twice that we've tried calculating, we believe it's more than 50 mpgs a tank. :) (And it doesn't even take $25 to fill it up)

We always drive manually and I think the thing that helps us the most is when we are about to stop at a red light or stop sign we switch the transmission to neutral so it can just coast. We've noticed it puts a small strain on the car when it tries to reduce speed on its own.

Another thing is since it is European, it doesn't take Premium Unleaded gas, it takes the usual unleaded gas that most people use (the cheapest choice).

We've had it for almost one month and we've fallen in love with it. :) I think it's a great buy for singles or couples!

jimcrowthers (author) from Port Charlotte on September 01, 2011:

Tom B, please do not use the VW Jetta as an example-- It's a completely unfair comparison.

VW Jettas look great, have decent gas mileage, is somewhat inexpensive, and can be retrofitted/augmented to make you think driving is fun again. Get one with a TDI, and a speeding ticket or two and a ride of your life is in your future (be safe!)

I'm not sure it's possibly to own a TDI Jetta, and not want to exceed the speed limit (and I'm not just talking the 16 MPH kind of exceeding the speed limit--we're talking doubling the speed limit in due haste).

Thanks for your comment!

Tom B on September 01, 2011:

The smart car may be classified as a gas guzzler. Compare go the Jetta TDI sportwagon. Smart car at 40 MPG highway yields 80 passenger miles per gallon. Jetta at 41 MPG (actually hits 47+ MPG) and 5 people yields 205 passenger miles per gallon. The Jetta can also take luggage or 2 large dogs. Not so sure the Smart car is smart at all. Smart car performances is dismal at best. Jetta TDI will do a 15.3 sec quarter mile and still get 40+ MPG.

Tom B on September 01, 2011:

The smart car may be classified as a gas guzzler. Compare go the Jetta TDI sportwagon. Smart car at 40 MPG highway yields 80 passenger miles per gallon. Jetta at 41 MPG (actually hits 47+ MPG) and 5 people yields 205 passenger miles per gallon. The Jetta can also take luggage or 2 large dogs. Not so sure the Smart car is smart at all. Smart car performances is dismal at best. Jetta TDI will do a 15.3 sec quarter mile and still get 40+ MPG.

Terry Moseley on August 27, 2011:

I love small cars. Had a Honda Coupe in 1972. Loved it. And that I think was smaller than the Smart-4-2. But I made 9 round trips from Kansas City to Atlanta in that little car and it did great. Never once did I worry about it being a death trap. From what I have read about the Smartcar, it's 10 times safer that that Honda was. Only thing I'd like to see for use here in the United States is for the Smartcar to burn regular 87 octane gasoline and get even better fuel milage. Get it up around 60 mpg and they'll sell like hotcakes. Comeon people, get with the program and help out us poorer folk!

jimcrowthers (author) from Port Charlotte on August 27, 2011:

Hah! I have not heard of that. However, I know there's bigger vehicles out there that suffer the same indignity from time to time, so I would imagine a Smart Car would be even easier.

Thanks for the comment, Devon!

Devon on August 27, 2011:

Have you ever heard of smart car flipping??? It involves a couple buddies, alcohol and a bad idea, yet kinda funny!

jimcrowthers (author) from Port Charlotte on August 08, 2011:

Holly! Quite an assortment of vehicles you've got goin' on there. (Forgive my grammar; just got off the phone with Palin.)

That's the speed you slow down to when passing through a school zone?

Thank you for the posts about your MPG experiences with various cars!

We're apparently going to have some legislation that will make it mandatory to get better gas mileage soon. We'll see how that goes.

Holly on August 07, 2011:

Vw rabbit... 2.5 liter stick... 32 mpg @80 mph all day long. Honda Civic 38 mpg nice car lots of room in the back seat. Hundai Elantra.. Claims 40 MPG... Really closer to 36 w my leadfoot... Toyota matrix... VERY versatile .. Sits high , comfy seats, carries lots of camping gear and gets 35 mpg. The bike rack added to the wind resistance @ 80 mph... Mpg came down to 32.again, my leadfoot w hills etc. The rabbit and Toyota were 12 grand , loaded, 20 k miles late model. Civic was 16k new. Elantra 18k new.... Popular equipt packages. Maybe there is a Reason we don't see many Smarts on the road. My friend owns one but borrowed his brothers corolla for our recent camping trip!

jimcrowthers (author) from Port Charlotte on August 06, 2011:

I've heard the same, Joshua, about people not achieving at least 40 MPG. I hope someone can enlighten us on how they can achieve such numbers. It doesn't seem fair, the sacrifices you've made, to not be able to save the kind of money you were hoping for, especially since you have to buy the more expensive grade of fuel.

Your numbers are completely abysmal, however, even for a regular car! If I may, allow me to suggest that you pay attention to how often you use your brakes. Is there any way you can try to predict the next red light, and coast to it instead of braking, trying to time it so that it turns green before you get there? Do you make jack rabbit starts from the line? Do you have a lot of heavy items in the storage areas of the vehicle? Do you keep your air filter clean, and change the oil often? Tire pressure is of a concern, also. Keep it at the manufacturer's recommended pressure levels (and, maybe try nitrogen instead of filling it with humid regular air, which fills your tires with (heavy) water). Other than that, I'm at a loss, and hope someone else can chime in.

Thanks for your comment!

Joshua on August 04, 2011:

i tried to read most of these.... i am absolutely baffled when people say they can get 40 mpg on their smarts. we have had our 2009 Smart cabriolet for a year now, and have not been able to get anywhere near the 40mpg. even right after the 1 year maintenance check which we had only put 6000 miles on it in a year, and it is our only car. we put the recommended premium fuel in it, and we only ever get at the most 240 miles before its time to fill up which is an average of about 26-32 mpg.... we do about 75% city, 25% highway driving every month, and have tried driving it in manual and automatic, both terrible results. Any recommendations Smart owners!!!???

jimcrowthers (author) from Port Charlotte on June 24, 2011:

Wow! 700 miles on 13 gallons? Now that you put it like that, that's incredible! That's around 54 miles per gallon. Sure beats my 16-18 MPG truck.

A cop of 33 years is very commendable, and I salute you. I could probably never do that job with all the patience, training, professionalism, and discipline it requires. The stress levels police officers have to endure seems a bit much for me. Thank you for your dedicated service to your community!

The EGO thing is very difficult for me, personally, to get over, however. I'd rather not draw any more attention to myself than necessary. {grin} And, the way some people drive, I'd rather have a bit more protection.

Thank you for your comments, Kim allyn!

Kim allyn on June 24, 2011:

My wife and I own one each. They get great gas milage and run fine on 87 Octane. We took mu wife's 2009 to LA fro Santa Cruz ,Ca.....round trip just over 700 miles in 13 gallons! ....beat our son up the I-5 Grape vine and no power issues. I am 6-5 and my wife is 5-10 and plenty of room. A blast to drive, maintain, and you get more thumbs up than thumbs down. I went from my Nissan 370 Z 2009 paid for in cash. It was fast and blew up at 20k. Sold it and dropped the male ego and bought my 2008 Smart for 9k with 16 grand on it.....love it and even sold it for another Nissan G-35...took it back and got my Smart car back! Love it..drive one before you comment.....safe, fun, and fast....I am a retired cop of 33 years and a pursuit certified Instructor......been to many crashes and all cars kill but this Smart just that...in the ego department..I get more attention and positive conversations from hot women than in my Porsche, 350Z, or my gas hog blown up 370Z....spend your money on your children or home and drop the ego!

jimcrowthers (author) from Port Charlotte on May 26, 2011:

I'm with you, BigTim. How does such a light-weight car get such horrible (respectively) gas mileage? It's crazy. If I'm going to drive a car that will make me the laughing stock at work and have people question my manliness, it had better get 60, 70, or 80+ MPG to make all the ridicule worth it! Right? Even if the advertised figures are on the low side, which I suspect has got to be the case, it should still get a much better base gas mileage than that.

Thanks for your comments!

BigTim on May 26, 2011:

how does a 1600lb(and, however the crap that works out for how small it is) 3-cylinder vehicle get a lousy 40mpg??? in my 92 civic at 2300lbs with 4 cylinders got 42 average(combined). ...i am just completely confused at the moment. I mean, Metros got 50+ mpg, sssooo, what am i missing here?? this is garbage, this whole scenario.

Elisabeth on May 21, 2011:

anyone interested in selling theirs? I am getting rid of my 05 X5 which is getting bet. 18-20 mpgs but need to get a smaller more economical car while mine still has less than 85k miles on it - thanks for anybody selling theirs Mislaneus@aol.com

jimcrowthers (author) from Port Charlotte on May 13, 2011:

I spelled "injected" wrong, and no one called me on it for the two years that this article was posted!

I invite you to correct my grammar and spellng (or facts, for that matter).

Paula Jenkins on March 18, 2011:

I have owned many cars from ford fiesta, ford ka, toyota rav 4 citreon c1 and toyota aygo ....wanted a smart car for years bought one a month ago and i love it. It,s called Mi Mi my baby x

jimcrowthers (author) from Port Charlotte on January 27, 2011:

Thanks for the comments, lawrence!

Yes, diesel powered cars are underrated in the US. I think they got a bad wrap in the late 70's and early 80's. It was also hard to find a fueling station, and, recently, the price of diesel skyrocketed. However, like you said, diesel powered cars typically get better mileage, and you can probably squeeze out some better gas mileage from a Smart Car if you drive it wisely.

However, if I own a Smart Car, and already getting above average gas mileage, I doubt I'm going to do anything to conserve even more MPG.

Thanks again for your thought provoking comments!

lawrence on January 27, 2011:

I have not driven a Smart car yet but I have sat in one. On the passenger side and the driver's side. I am 6'6" tall and weigh 260 lbs. It was plenty roomy enough for me. I could even wear my cowboy hat while sitting in it without rubbing on the roofliner. I do not understand why they won't bring the diesel version to the US. They do get milage in the 70-80 mpg range. I have a friend who has one of the gas powered versions sold here in the US however and they swear they get over 50 mpg on the hwy. Plus I'm pretty sure they told me they never buy anything but 87 octane gas for it. So once again where cars are concerned there is the official line (often as in this case the "government line") which gives mpg estimates etc and then something totally different when you talk to an actual owner. Driving patterns and methods are different from person to person but if you know how to drive to conserve gas I have no doubt the Smart car will do better than the "government line" from the EPA.

jimcrowthers (author) from Port Charlotte on January 21, 2011:

Hi, hanbell.

100% agree with you on all points. Besides, "upgrading" to a new car is doing the Earth no good. And, in your situation, you'd be losing money right off the bat. The only way it makes sense to buy a new car is if the car you're driving isn't reliable enough to help you earn an income, and/or costs more per month/year to maintain than a new car's new monthly payment (assuming your car is already paid off or has very few payment coupons left).

Thank you for your comment! I always love a good argument, but I agree with you all the way on this one.

hanbell on January 20, 2011:

I can't see paying for higher octane gas for a car that still only gets 40 mpg. We have a 2 year old Honda Fit that is still small but more versatile than the Smart Car. It takes regular 87 octane gas and gets 40 mpg itself. I have to agree that the Smart Car should get at least 60 or 70 mpg. It certainly needs to do much better than other high quality sub-compacts to be worth the trade-offs in size and gas prices.

jimcrowthers (author) from Port Charlotte on December 30, 2010:

Hi, Transmission Problems.

I think it's possible, but I also think that cars are going to lose quality as the strength of the US economy decreases, while other emerging markets increase. We'll have to see how it all plays out. Unless the US implements some very robust austerity packages soon (not likely with the latest round of income tax rate extensions), we may be doomed to living a much lower life-style tout de suite.

Thank you for your thoughtful comments!

Transmission Problems on December 15, 2010:

I love how you have laid your points. You are very clear and fair to your judgment. When I heard about electric cars, two things that come to my mind are its safety in environment and savings on money because of fuel.

I never though about accident and the idea that there cars are disposable. I just wonder, can't companies improve their research to make these cars stronger and long lasting?

Don't you think that's possible?

Used Cars North Carolina on November 25, 2010:

The yellow car is awesome!

I want to have one. I think it feels like living in a fun world to have one. it is a break from formal looking cars. I would love to ride here with my little students eating lollipop.

Mr Rudi O'Neil on August 18, 2010:

As the cost of fuel in Britain has always been so much more of a moot point than in the USA, there has long been a need to compromise in terms of the aesthetics of the vehicles that we drive. Indeed, we Brits are starting to choose cars with MPG being the major thing that sways our decision. An alternative to the Smart, which offers the same great MPG without the terrible looks, is the Volkswagen Fox.

jimcrowthers (author) from Port Charlotte on May 29, 2010:

Thank you for your comments, Saxon, george, and Bob!

Awesome suggestion, Novak! Car pooling is great if you can find someone you can not only get along with, but also share the same or similar (and consistent!) hours, and is along your everyday route. I have problems with each of these. Either they smoke, or they can't stay or leave when I would like them to. The people I wouldn't mind sharing a ride with (i.e. the unmarried ladies in the marketing department) don't live along my path.

Glad you liked the car, nigelclewis!

I agree with you, Shannon!

Thanks for the link, JakeAuto!

Shannon Paulk on April 11, 2010:

We are seeing more and more of these cars on the road in the US. I'm glad you covered safety with these cars. That's the only issue I have with them. I feel much safer on the road if I have more car around me.

nigelclewis from Cleethorpes England on February 10, 2010:

I bought one for my wife last year (soft top) She never gets chance to drive it I love it! I'm thinking of getting rid of my own car because I only did 2000 miles in last year since we got the SMART car!

wineandcars from USA on January 26, 2010:

Vintage cars are the cars that are dreamed by the entire world and are sharing the highest popularity after the Limousine cars. They are the master pieces of creation of older times.

Novak on January 18, 2010:

Also, don't forget car pooling. If you only drive every other day, that helps the environment and your gas mileage as well.

JakeAuto from Calif. on November 14, 2009:

Those are some sound economizing tips, there's a large collection of conservative driving tips collectively called HyperMiling that can save more gas http://ecomodder.com/forum/EM-hypermiling-driving-...

Some hot rod types have put high performance motorcycle engines into Smart Cars, turning them into screaming deamons, with marginal gas mileage.

Bob on July 29, 2009:

I would buy it for $3000, but not 12

gorge on February 24, 2009:

it's look too small for me.but thanks for sharing

Saxon on November 18, 2008:

This car should be getting 70 mpg or get lost. Comes up way short. Too little and ugly. when it gets at least 65 mpg I would consider. I could then deal with people making fun of me driving that golf cart with bad mpg.

jimcrowthers (author) from Port Charlotte on October 31, 2008:

Thank you for the comments!

I saw one of these vehicles begin to pull out of a parking lot onto a busy street, and guess who was coming right at them in a full-sized truck going all the speed limit had to offer? Me! It scared the crap out of me, because if he really did pull out in front of me, I guarantee my truck would have some bumper damage, but his body would have some serious internal damage! (Swapping his Wendy's burger with a steel sandwich). If everyone were driving around in Smart Cars, safety wouldn't be a worry, but reality dictates a different story.

Niche Content, I agree. Riding back from lunch, I saw a guy driving a Smart Car, and he was either too tall for it, or the car was too small for him. I made fun of my co-worker, who was driving a souped-up 'stang, when the guy in the Smart Car beat 'im to the red light.

I'm seeing more and more of these vehicles on the road. I would MUCH rather see these on the road than more Hummers. I can't help but to feel a bit of anger towards people driving Hummers. I feel sorry (or is it "empathy"?) for people who drive Smart Cars, though. <grin>

Something that irked me recently was a couple of guys from work recently went just outside of town, and got some great deals on some V8 full-sized trucks. They told me they get better gas mileage than my 6 cylinder! How is that possible? It was weird to pull into the parking lot and see two brand new trucks in it, especially in a time an inflated oil prices. The price of oil/gas has come way down since then (only a few weeks ago), so they will probably be called geniuses!

Niche Content from BiContinental on July 27, 2008:

They don't seem comfortable. Looks like you would have to drive with your knees to your chest.

nicolap from Dorset, UK on July 14, 2008:

Smart Cars are very cute, but I'd worry about being in an accident in one - you'd have no chance.

commentonthis7 on July 02, 2008:

Great hub

02SmithA from Ohio on July 02, 2008:

Those smart cars are pretty neat, and I am surprised they are so safe. Thanks for the post!

summer10 from my happy place :) on July 01, 2008:

I would think parking alone would be worth the funny looks and blank stares :)

Pete Michner from Virginia on June 30, 2008:

Great article! And according to this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_EV there's even an electric version (coming soon). I bet that would save on gas :)

Joanna McKenna from Central Oklahoma on June 29, 2008:

Several years ago a former neighbor, usually frugal, imported a Mini Cooper, which naturally wasn't the cheap way to go. His was the only one in town at the time. After several months and several near-accidents due to other drivers gawking instead of minding their driving, he sold it for much less than he paid for it. HUGE mistake. Now there are several dozen in town, and nobody pays any attention to them. They seat 4 adults comfortably, according to a friend whose son bought one.

As for Smart Cars, they ARE cute and can park where other cars can't. I might get one for around-town. Probably wouldn't use it for road trips, tho.

But no flavor of 4-wheeler is going to survive a highway accident with an 18-wheeler. The best defense is give them and yourself plenty of room, or as a trucker friend says: 'Give everybody a place to go'.

dwainj on June 21, 2008:

It was so windy today, my Smart Car belw away

guidebaba from India on June 20, 2008:

Thanks for sharing man.

rkat on June 20, 2008:

We all need smart cars with the price of gasing going insanely high.

GoogleCashMoney from Mumbai, India on June 20, 2008:

Very Good Article. Keep it up. cheers

Ron Cripps from Australia on June 20, 2008:

Hey fantastic hub full of useful and insightful information thx... i to work from home and don't have the problem of high gas prices.

jimcrowthers (author) from Port Charlotte on June 17, 2008:

New Day, yeah, the car is just too small for families. Thanks for the comment!

1travelpro, thanks for the tips! It's great that you can work from home and avoid these gas prices. Who knew they'd get this high?

1travelpro on June 17, 2008:

Not that I drive as much now because I work from home, but one important tip I heard about is to fuel up in the morning or late at night when its cool because gas expands in higher temperatures and you pay by volume. And another tip is to try and fill up on Wed. before they raise prices for the weekend.

New Day from Western United States on June 11, 2008:

I have seen these SmartCars around. Plus, in 2 weeks, I have watched the gas prices at one local pump rise from $3.98 to $4.29!! 2 weeks! We really need to change our perceptions of how we get around, when we drive, how fast and more. I wish I could dump my old car and get one of these. My kids and I (and groceries) would not all fit though! Great for commuting.

jimcrowthers (author) from Port Charlotte on June 06, 2008:

That's a great suggestion, lavenderstreak! I think most of the gigundo SUVs and trucks have scaled back on their speed and aggressiveness because of the gas that behavior consumes. Hey, maybe road-rage incidents will be cut down significantly due to this "gas crisis".

Thanks for your comment!

lavenderstreak from Seattle on June 05, 2008:

To add to the list of ways to improve your gas mileage - work from home. I'm sure glad I'm not doing the 3 hour commute twice a week anymore.

I saw my first Smart car in Brussels (well actually quite a few of them) 5 years ago. They are cute. I have a picture of one pulled up next to a table in Grand Square (is that what it's called?) Just like a bicycle.

I've been driving my '96 VW Golf since I bought it new in '96 and it's a small car, but I never felt unsafe on the highway. I wouldn't hesitate to drive a Smart car around town but I wonder how safe I'd feel on the highway with all the gigundo SUVs and trucks speeding by.

jimcrowthers (author) from Port Charlotte on June 04, 2008:

Thanks, carauctionsonline!

If anyone's following, I said I'd get back with my gas mileage by following some of these tips myself. Remember, I checked the tire pressure (the one with the screw embedded, then plugged, needed around 15 extra PSI), and started driving much less aggressively. I just filled up tonight, and they took all of my money, at $3.85/gallon at 25 gallons, it cost me around $94! But, the good news is, I went 424 miles on 22.5 gallons of gas. That's almost 19 MPG; with city driving and a full sized (Toyota Tundra) truck! (Remember, the one that can "haul" things).

carauctionsonline from United States on June 04, 2008:

Great page! ty for the info

jimcrowthers (author) from Port Charlotte on June 03, 2008:

I have not seen any on the road yet, mikeking. I think I'm going to try to concentrate on trying to improve my truck gas mileage before I seriously think about investing in a smaller car. You might only save $500/year (maybe a little more), which, for the safety factor, IMHO, isn't really worth it yet. That's about how much you'll lose in the market value for the car anyways!

Thanks for the comment, mikeking! Let us know if you've had a confirmed sighting! {grin}

Shadesbreath from California on June 03, 2008:

Banadux, there are lots of gas additives ranging in quality from garbage to way-more-than-you-need. There are some really good commercial quality ones, like BG's 44k or Wynn's Powercharge, that you can get from your local garage (assuming they don't buy the cheaper ones) or you can just buy some Techron at your local Chevron filling station. Keeping your fuel system clean is the main point anyway.

Most of the cheapie stuff you get from parts stores is junk and formulated for the least amount of risk, meaning, the manufacturer doesn't want to take a chance that your system is old and neglected. Putting good chemicals in abused systems might mean liability, so, over the counter stuff is almost always crap--no matter what the lable says.

jimcrowthers (author) from Port Charlotte on June 03, 2008:

Thank you very much for the comment and information, Shadesbreath! I thought it was the new tires I bought (new as in three years ago), but I've always had to fill the tires when I had the rubber valve stems. With the metal stems, they pretty much stayed the same from month to month.

Banadux, I have not tested the gas additive yet, so I can not yet recommend it. I'm waiting to do tests first, then I will provide a link to it. I'd hate to advocate something without testing it myself! Thanks for the comment!

Banadux from Cary, NC on June 03, 2008:

I may have missed something, but what is the name of the gas additive?

Shadesbreath from California on June 03, 2008:

Great article. And for what it's worth, metal valve stems are better because they are mounted from the inside. They have double seals, one in and one out, and are locked down with a nut on the outside. Rubber valve stems are simply stems with a bulbous bottom. The bulbed portion has a groove or indented mid-section, rather like a figure-8. To install them the tire tech just pulls them through the hole until the top portion of the bulb squeezes through the hole in the wheel/rim. While this is a pretty decent seal, it's not as good as the seal set up of the metal valve stems.

Also, your readers should not be fooled by rubber stems with metal sleeves on the upper stem. They LOOK metal, but they still have the rubber bulb type seal. If you don't see the washer/nut set up tightend on the metal threads, it's not a "metal valve stem."

mikeking on June 03, 2008:

I think I saw some of those cars on the road locally.

jimcrowthers (author) from Port Charlotte on June 02, 2008:

BTW, the local gas mart wouldn't let me fill up my tank with one go, as the pump stopped at $75, so, my gas tank was short a few gallons. After filling up my tires (I had a hole in one of them that I patched up a weekend or so ago), and driving a lot less aggressively (coming off a red light with barely pushing on the pedal), I'm now getting some incredible gas mileage. I don't think I've seen this kind of gas mileage except maybe when I'm driving down the highway. I'm getting almost 400+ miles off of 22.5 gallons (almost 18 MPG, whereas I'm used to 16 MPG). I'll let you know when I finally have to fill up again what the final verdict is.

jimcrowthers (author) from Port Charlotte on June 02, 2008:

I know I'm playing both sides of the fence, but Smart Cars are built to be safe. However, there's only so much metal that surrounds you. Smart Cars actually sacrifice gas mileage to be safer. These are the types of decisions you must make yourself.

Thanks for the comments, Bueller's Way and RyanRE!!

Bueller's Way from Massachussetts on June 01, 2008:

Good info. I agree, smart cars aren't smart at all. 40 mpg to drive a casket!

RyanRE from Bellingham, WA on June 01, 2008:

I see a lot of Smart cars rolling around Bellingham and Vancouver, BC. I just wonder what happens if they get kicked off the freeway by an 18 wheeler.

jimcrowthers (author) from Port Charlotte on May 31, 2008:

I've been working on trying to find a sound energy (and enviromental) strategy for this country, and I hope it won't require many sacrifices, while still being more energy independent and increasing our national security.

Thanks a lot for your comment, Zsuzsy Bee!

Zsuzsy Bee from Ontario/Canada on May 31, 2008:

Good advice, thanks for sharing.

Great hub regards Zsuzsy

jimcrowthers (author) from Port Charlotte on May 26, 2008:

Thanks, dirverslicense! Let me know if you've test driven one. I'd like to hear your experiences with it.

Thanks for the comment!

driverslicense on May 26, 2008:

LOL those little cars are awesome! great hub...ty for the info

Edwin Stanton on May 21, 2008:

I think I'll have mine painted in "Cow Milk" colors.

Thanks for the tips on saving gas. Interesting about the tread. I guess that makes sense that muddin' tires don't make for fuel efficient street driving.

Great post!

Related Articles