The best rides to combat high fuel prices


It’s almost unthinkable that your P100 is no longer enough to buy two liters of gasoline. There’s not much of a difference even if you’re filling up your ride with diesel.

Nowadays, the high cost of fuel definitely has become a factor in buying a car, influencing buyers to get a more fuel-efficient model or variant.

But which one?

Since 2002, the Department of Energy (DoE) has been organizing fuel economy drive events not only for its fuel-efficient driving campaign but also to provide a validated chart that may guide car buyers whenever they want to compare fuel consumption of various makes and models of vehicles.

But it was not until 2008 onwards that this annual event started to merit so much attention from the public.

The results proved useful even for car companies, especially those who would like to highlight their most fuel-efficient models.


In the 2009 edition, the DoE made a historic decision to fill up all participating vehicles with the more environment-friendly E10, gasoline variant blended with 10 percent ethanol.

This highlights the department’s effort not only to tell the public to consider models that are not only fuel-efficient but also one that could also reduce emissions.

These DoE tests also highlighted the fact that vehicles belonging to the same category carry different price tags (diesel variant is usually priced much higher than their gasoline counterpart), built as well as designed differently that a would-be car buyer should also consider the so-called “payback time” whenever he or she evaluates or compares models. Payback time refers to the point at which one’s savings on fuel will exceed the extra money forked over in order to get a more fuel-efficient vehicle.

Here are some models (with their corresponding fuel efficiency) that should merit your attention:

Suzuki Celerio subcompact hatchback (manual 1.0L gasoline)—34.34 km/L; you spend just P1.15 per km

Suzuki Alto subcompact hatchback (manual 0.8L gasoline)—34 km/L; you spend just P1.38 per km

Suzuki Celerio subcompact hatchback (automatic 1.0L gasoline)—21.92 km/L;

you spend just P1.80 per km

Chevrolet Spark subcompact hatchback (manual 1.2L gasoline/manual 1.0L gasoline)—22 km/L

Chevrolet Spark subcompact hatchback (automatic 1.0L gasoline)—19 km/L

Kia Motors’ Picanto subcompact hatchback (manual 1.1L gasoline)—20.8 km/L

Honda Jazz compact hatchback (automatic 1.5L gasoline)—27.58 km/L; you spend just P1.43 per km

Honda City compact sedan (manual 1.3L gasoline)—20.67 km/L; you spend just P1.91 per km

Ford Fiesta compact hatchback (automatic 1.6L gasoline)—21.86 Km/L

Hyundai Getz compact hatchback (manual 1.5L diesel)—25.22 km/L; you spend just P1.82 per km

Hyundai Accent compact sedan (manual 1.5L diesel)—23.38 km/L; you spend just P1.97 per km

Toyota Prius mid-size sedan (automatic 1.8L gasoline-electric hybrid)—24.23 km/L; you spend just P1.63 per km

Toyota Corolla Altis mid-size sedan (manual 1.6L gasoline)—15.48 km/L; you spend just P2.54 per km

Toyota Vios compact sedan (automatic 1.5L gasoline)—15.44 km/L; you spend just P2.55 per km

Ford Focus compact hatchback (manual 2.0L diesel)—21.39 km/L; you spend just P2.15 per km

Isuzu D-Max 4×2 pickup (manual 2.5L diesel)—20.57 km/L; you spend just P2.24 per km

Toyota Hilux pickup (manual 2.5L diesel)—19.12 km/L; you spend just P2.40 per km

Mitsubishi Strada 2×4 pickup (manual 2.5L Diesel)—18.57 km/L; you spend just P2.48 per km

Mazda CX-7 mid-size SUV (automatic 2.5L gasoline)—18.17 km/L; you spend just P2.17 per km

Isuzu Alterra 4×2 full-size SUV (manual 3.0L diesel)—19.44 km/L; you spend just P2.37 per km

Kia Carens multipurpose vehicle (manual 2.0L diesel)—19.25 km/L; you spend just P2.39 per km

Toyota Innova multipurpose vehicle (manual 2.5L diesel)—18.41 km/L; you spend just P2.50 per km

Isuzu Sportivo Asian utility vehicle (manual 2.5L diesel)—18.03 km/L; you spend just P2.55 per km

BMW 320d compact luxury sedan (automatic 2.0L diesel)—20.53 km/L; you spend just P2.24 per km

BMW X3 compact luxury SUV (automatic 2.0L diesel)—16.63 km/L; you spend just P2.76 per km

Volvo S40 compact luxury sedan (automatic 2.0L gasoline)—13.52 km/L; you spend just P2.91 per km

Those who love fast cars ridicule them, and those who admire SUVs find these two diminutive rides too claustrophobic for comfort. But things have changed. Increasingly worried over frequent rise in the prices of gasoline, Filipino car buyers have fallen in love with these two cute offerings from Suzuki that offers not only very low price tag but also higher fuel efficiency and lower running cost. And carmakers are quick to take note of this trend.

It should be interesting to note that another subcompact model proved that with small engine, compact and light weight body would result in fantastic fuel-efficiency rating. This time, Chevrolet Philippines teamed up with rally cross and rally racing events organizer Roadwise Motoring Foundation and Automobile Association of the Philippines to make the fuel-efficiency test possible.

The Picanto topped last year’s edition where the 28 participating vehicles drove 162.8 kilometers starting from DoE office in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City to Lipa City Hall in Batangas and back. This is the model that achieved a 26.2 km/L fuel efficiency rating in a field test conducted by Kia Philippines.

Apart from the DoE-organized fuel-efficiency run, the Jazz also made headlines in the Petron Xtra Mile Challenge especially in the 2008 edition, when an automatic 1.3 Jazz ran 1,402.4 km on a single tank of fuel. This figure broke the previous records set by motoring icon Pocholo Ramirez (1,114 km) in 2005 and Team Zayco Hermanos (1,400 km) in 2006.

The Fiesta recently made world headlines when this Ford gem traveled more than 800 km on a single tank of gas, driving from Chiang Mai to Bangkok in Thailand. Two models were used, 1.6L Fiesta Sport 5Dr hatchback model and 1.6L Fiesta Sport 4Dr sedan model. The Fiesta 5Dr Sport achieved a 19.79 km/L.

The Korean automaker has attracted the attention of car buyers, thanks to its models’ innovative, edgy designs. But even before this, Hyundai became famous for introducing diesel-powered engine in passenger cars here in the Philippines.

Introduced in 1997, the Prius has become the best-selling hybrid in the world with more than 3 million vehicles already sold worldwide. As the world’s first mass-produced gasoline-electric hybrid, the Prius helps curb emission levels or global warming carbon dioxide—by approximately 18 million tons—equivalent to what would have been emitted by gasoline-powered vehicles of similar size and performance for 14 years.

Coming up with reasonably priced, long-lasting vehicles has made Toyota the best-selling brand here in the Philippines. What made the 2009 edition of the DoE fuel economy run more interesting for Toyota is the fact that these two models, belonging to two separate segments, finished with an almost identical kilometers per liter fuel consumption.

In the 2010 Ford Focus Coast to Coast Challenge (Sorsogon in Bicol to Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte), this model set a new fuel economy record of 25.9 km/L after covering 1,432.3 kilometers on a single tank of diesel.

These three heavy duty and ubiquitous diesel-powered workhorses from the country’s most trusted brands should merit car buyers’ attention because despite their powerful engines, they could still deliver great savings for their owners.

It’s interesting to note that in an Isuzu Philippines Corp.’s organized fuel-efficiency run held last year, a manual 4×2 D-Max averaged 24.26 km/L after running 1,844 kilometers on one full tank of diesel.

Another interesting result in the SUV category of the 2008 DoE Fuel Economy Run was the fact that despite its 1.775-ton weight and big engine displacement, the Alterra still exhibited an excellent mark when compared with the rest of the participants powered by more advanced or smaller displacement engines.

Looking for a reasonably priced family transporter? Consider these three top fuel misers as tested by the DoE.

Of course, the DoE fuel economy runs also invited a number of multimillion-peso luxury models. While fuel-efficiency rating would likely be the least of their would-be buyers’ concern, it is interesting to note that these three models made significant marks in besting their equally expensive counterparts.

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • J

    Hiway driving ang data. Wala ba data sa EDSA as rush hour? Tiyak panalo ang Prius o iba pang hybrid.
    Mas marami ang city driving kaya yun ang more na ipublish. Kung punta sa province e mag-bus na lang
    Tsaka subukan mo mag-drive ng Celerio na may 5-pasahero (including driver) at may kargamento pa, yan ang interesting kung i-compare sa bigger car (same load) at siempre isama sa points yung convinience ng pasahero.

  • Ruft

    in order to save money from these never-ending oil price hike,,,, its the govt who should trash aside the evil e-vat( i was absolutely right from the very start that e-vat will just kill the filipinos, indeed!), stop the the oil deregulation law………for sure prices will drop dramataically and significantly and filipinos will be, once again atleast be happy………president noynoy, KAMI  ang boss mo, e di pakinggan mo na kami ora mismo ngayon! mukhang indi mo naman nararamdaman at nakikita ang paghihirap naming mga filipino citizens!

  • jun d

    all those figures are nothing but marketing BS. the more realistic figures are about half of the declared figures.

  • maximoelemino

    this will interest only to people who have cars in other words moneyed people resulting to heavy traffic.the government must come up with a clear policy on how to stabilize oil prices otherwise, the people will conclude that this government is inutile  and paralytic.

  • Party Pips

    hoy buban, mag-research ka naman hindi yung copy and paste ka lang lagi.  wala nang hyundai getz.

  • Anonymous

    The figures are the author, know your facts.
    better yet, avoid cars if you really want to save….sabi ikatitipid ng bayan, bisekleta ang kailangan!!

  • calvin schiraldi

    Yeah, these are not under “normal” driving conditions.

  • emil

    The data above is not true.  I own a vios and an innova.  Vios 1.3 M/T is 12 to 13 kms per liter and Innova 2.5 M/T is 12 to 13 kms per liter.  

    • Anonymous

      That sounds just about right Emil.  I guess the figures in the article are reflective of long distance – zero traffic driving.

  • Jao Romero

    magsibalik na lamang tayo sa horseback riding. walang smoke emission, at romantic pa kapag susundo ka ng date.

    i wanna be a cowboy…

    • Anonymous

      Mas mabaho nga lang ang “exhaust” ng kabayo. he he.

      • Jao Romero

        natural at organic naman. hehe.

  • Anonymous

    KARITON WITH KALABAW (MANUAL) 1 kalabaw power.. 1 bundle of dayami and bucket of water that’s all it’s needed. The most economical and the best ride to combat high fuel prices. Environmentally friendly as well.. emission a lot lesser that the minimum required by law…

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