You’ll Never Guess the 20 Cheapest Cars to Own

You’ll Never Guess the 20 Cheapest Cars to Own

The past few years have seen skyrocketing prices for car insurance and many other products and services. But there’s one big sign of hope on the horizon for shoppers: cars are getting cheaper in 2024.

As of April 2024, according to Kelley Blue Book, new car prices were at their lowest levels in two years, and used car prices were down 4% from the previous year. If you’ve been thinking about buying a new (or “new to you”) vehicle this year, you might be car shopping at a good time.

But car insurance and gasoline, along with other costs of car ownership, still aren’t cheap. Before you go to a car dealership, start doing research into the cheapest cars to own.

Let’s look at a few recent reports about the cheapest cars to own — not just based on one day’s sticker price at the dealership lot, but for years to come.

Zutobi’s cheapest cars for car insurance + gas in 2024

Zutobi, a driver’s education platform, recently published its “2024 Cost-Effective Cars Report” with a list of “cheapest cars to run.” Based on the vehicles’ average cost of gas and car insurance for one year, here are Zutobi’s top picks for cheapest cars to own.

Top ten cheapest cars to own: Gasoline plus car insurance

  1. Honda Fit (2018) — $5,348 (one year of car insurance plus fuel)
  2. Hyundai Accent — $5,468
  3. Honda Civic — $5,480
  4. Mini Cooper Convertible — $5,543
  5. Toyota Yaris (2020) — $5,615
  6. Toyota RAV4 — $5,618
  7. Toyota Corolla — $5,627
  8. Nissan Rogue — $5,654
  9. Honda CR-V — $5,656
  10. Subaru Forester — $5,656

Many of these vehicles are small (“subcompact”) models, but some are midsize SUVs like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V. You don’t have to drive a tiny car to save money on gas and car insurance.

Top ten cheapest electric vehicles: Car insurance plus fuel

What if you want to save even more money on gas, by buying an electric vehicle? Some car shoppers wonder if EVs really save you money compared to a regular gas-powered car. After all, EV prices are sometimes higher than regular cars (although EV prices have been coming down in the past several months).

But you still have to pay for EV car insurance (which can be expensive), and charging your EV is not “free” for most drivers. Unless you live in a home that’s powered 100% by solar panels and you only charge your EV at home or at free public charging stations, you’ll need to spend some money on EV charging.

But if you choose the right EV, you can get cheaper car insurance and reduce your overall costs of ownership. Zutobi’s study found that these 10 EVs have cheaper car insurance and fuel costs than any of the 10 cheapest gas-powered vehicles:

  1. Nissan Leaf — $3,626 (one year of EV charging costs plus EV car insurance)
  2. Ford Mustang Mach E — $3,626
  3. Hyundai Kona Electric — $3,641
  4. Chevrolet Bolt EUV — $3,654
  5. Hyundai Ioniq 5 — $3,694
  6. Audi Q4 e-tron — $3,830
  7. Tesla Model Y — $4,247
  8. Tesla Model 3 — $4,432
  9. Porsche Taycan 4 — $4,582
  10. Tesla Model S — $5,318

On average, the 10 cheapest EVs cost about $4,065 per year ($339 per month) to charge and buy car insurance, vs. $5,567 per year ($464) for fueling and insuring gas-powered cars. That’s an annual savings of $1,502.

Saving money on car insurance and gas is good. But if you want to know the total cost of car ownership of an EV or any other car, you have to look at the purchase price, the depreciation (how much the value of the car decreases after you buy it), and other costs like financing (if you get an auto loan), maintenance, and repairs.

There’s a free website that can help you with that: Kelley Blue Book (

Kelley Blue Book five-year cost to own

The best way to understand which are the cheapest cars to own is to look at the total picture of car ownership costs over several years. Hopefully, you’re going to drive your newly-purchased car for at least a few years, and during that time there will be several costs: car insurance, depreciation, and more.

Kelley Blue Book publishes annual research on this. Check out the latest Kelley Blue Book “5-Year Cost to Own” data for a breakdown of various cars, SUVs, trucks, and auto brands that score highly for low cost of ownership.

Bottom line

Before you shop for a car, consider the total cost of car ownership — not just for a monthly payment or for one year of car insurance, but for several years into the future. The cheapest EVs can save you money on gas, but your total cost of ownership might be lower with a hybrid car. Use Kelley Blue Book ( for detailed research on car prices and to see which auto brands and models rank highest as long-term cheap cars to own.

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