It sounds like a concept vehicle, but it's real.

USA Today  reports the XL1, which gets 260 miles per gallon equivalent, is set to go into production.

Unfortunately, this 2-person car is only being rolled out for the European market at this point. Hopefully it will come to the U.S. with more passenger capacity and slightly lower fuel economy, perhaps around 220 mpg.

The XL1 runs like Chevy Volt for the first 30 miles, electric only. Once that finishes, it switches to an ultra-efficient diesel engine. So Volkswagen gets fantastic fuel economy by coupling electric technology with ultra-efficient diesel.

Why would I talk about this since you can't buy it? Because I want you to broaden your thinking.

There's so much happening in the automotive world. The new Ford C-Max Energi has excited a lot of people. It's a hybrid minivan that drives its first 20 miles each day as an electric car and then becomes a traditional gas/electric hybrid until the next charge.

The Energi comes as a hybrid ($25,000) or a plug-in hybrid ($33,000-$4,000 in federal tax credits = $29,000).

The plug-in hybrid just earned an EPA rating of 100 miles per gallon. By contrast, the typical car today gets about 22 mpg. Expressed in today's gas prices, getting 100 miles per gallon would be like paying 70 cents a gallon at the pump. Meanwhile, the CMAX hybrid gets 47 mpg.

Open your eyes before you plunk down money for a new car; look at all the new choices coming our way!

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to save more, spend less and avoid getting ripped off. View More Articles

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