The best solution for now is probably cars like those European diesel powered compacts run on bio-diesel. They get similar or better mileage than hybrids, and would have exhaust that smells like French fries!You have to remember until recently, the EPA fuel efficiency estimates were about 10-20% over inflated. The 2007 Prius that I bought had a listed 48 mpg when I bought it. Earlier in the year, it was listed as 60 mpg. The revised estimates put the CRX HF at 41 city / 49 highway (still very impressive).
According to the new numbers I should be getting 21 MPG AVG, not the 27 I'm actually getting. They list my highway average as only 26! The most I ever got out of it was 41 MPG on road trip.
They didn't go back and retest all those cars. New EPA figures of older cars are just calculations based on modern car use. Including use of AC. Considering CRX HF's usually don't have AC, these calculations aren't totally right. Real people are getting 50+ out of them. Hypermilers are getting 60+.
With modern tech a car like that could get even more. Like I said though, people today wouldn't buy a car like that just to get good gas mileage. They need all the bells and whistles that come with a modern car. Since people won't buy them. No manufacturer will try.
I'm not in the market for new car either way. It would cost me more to buy a new car then to continue to use my 27 MPG AVG gas guzzler.
As far as AC goes. I live in Georgia. We usually have mid-90's throughout summer, but with high humidity. I know what your talking about when it comes to AC.