If you pay any attention to cars and someone asked you to name the 2011 top five choices for fuel efficient cars, you could probably at least say the Prius. Right?

If you pay any attention to cars and someone asked you to name the 2011 top five choices for fuel efficient cars, you could probably at least say the Prius. Right? Well, the Daily Green (thedailygreen.com) recently came out with its top most fuel efficient cars and, sure enough, the Prius is in the top five. But, if Prius was not No. 1, which car was?

I thought the list had some interesting information and might be helpful if you are in the car shopping mode.

1. The first fully electric car to hit the roads in the United States is the Nissan Leaf, and, all its reviews are positive. Although the price tag for a standard model is just less than $33,000, factor in the federal green tax credits which push the price down to around $25,000. (Some states have even more green tax credits which can drive the price even lower, to around $20,000!)

The Leaf has a range of 100 miles on a single charge (99 mpg fuel equivalent) and can recharge in 30 minutes for an 80 percent charge. To me the most amazing thing is that the annual charging cost is about $560. Because it is an electric engine there are nearly no maintenance costs, no oil changes, etc. The Leaf is not one of these cars that looks like it was built for gnomes, either. This is a sporty-looking hatchback. Very attractive. Who knew!

2. Next up is the Chevrolet Volt. It costs a bit more than the Leaf; standard options make it around $40,000 (federal and state green tax credits could bring it down to around $27,500). If you are worried about driving only on electricity and – running out of juice – so to speak, then, this is the car for you. The Volt is part electric and part gas. It also has been named 2011 North American Car of the Year, and was named Car of the Year by Motor Trend, Detroit Free Press, and Automobile Magazine. In terms of mpg (miles per gallon), the Volt will give you 93 if you’re going all electric (don’t ask me how you get a “miles per gallon” on electricity, but whatever), and if you’re going gas only, it would get 37 mpg. Again, the astounding annual fuel cost is estimated to be about $600-$1,300.

3. The well-known Prius takes back seat this year with a mere 50 mpg (did you think we’d ever be talking in these terms?). They list standard price at $21,600, but I can tell you that I looked into buying a Prius in 2009, and that is pretty stripped down. Prius is still the leader in hybrids, although many argue that it sells more in the hybrid market simply by its name. (Don’t get me wrong, I own a Toyota and love it!) The annual fuel cost for a Prius is rated at $888.

4. Even Lexus is in the hybrid market with several models, including the 2011 Lexus CT 200h. The cost for this luxury hybrid is just less than $30,000 with an average of 42 mpg. This car is where pretty face meets granola king, and it’s one of the most fuel-efficient cars on the market.

5. It wouldn’t be a competition without the three Japanese contenders, and with that the 2011 Honda Civic Hybrid squeaks into the top five at No. 5. Costing about $24,000 and getting 41 mpg (compared to its cousin, the gas-powered Civic at 29 mpg), the Civic Hybrid is an affordable green sedan with an annual fuel cost around $1,085.

If you are looking into some new wheels and are looking for a GREEN way to go, I hope this list has helped. Besides thinking of your auto for transportation, maybe there are some ways you could integrate your bicycle or the bus into at least some of the places you are traveling.

Keep thinking green!