The most environmentally-friendly car on the market continues to be the natural-gas powered Honda Civic GX. The new all-electric Nissan Leaf finished second.The rest of the top 13:
3. Smart Fortwo Cabriolet or Coupe: Gas
4. Toyota Prius: Hybrid
5. Honda Civic Hybrid
6. Honda Insight: Hybrid
7. Ford Fiesta SFE: Gas
8. Chevrolet Cruze Eco: Gas
9. Hyundai Elantra: Gas
10. Mini Cooper: Gas
11. Toyota Yaris: Gas
12 Mazda 2: Gas
13. Chevrolet Volt: Electric/gas
Why does the Leaf outperform the Volt? ACEEE's Therese Langer told WalletPop that they used the EPA estimate for the Volt, that it would be driven two-thirds of the time as an electric, one-third as a gas-powered vehicle. So while it did nearly as well as the Leaf in electric mode, it didn't do as well in gas-powered mode as some of the new gas and hybrid vehicles.
Electric cars also have their own pollution problems. As the organization's Transportation Director explained, the electricity produced to power the car comes at an environmental cost, such as the burning of coal. Also, the production of batteries is an environmental concern addressed in the ratings.
While companies dash around madly to bring more hybrids and electrics to market, their engineers have been quietly dialing up the mileage enjoyed by these conventional models. The new Ford Fiesta SFE, for example, claims 33 mpg for combined city and highway driving. The Hyundai Elantra get 29 city and 40 mpg on the highway.
If you want a larger vehicle, the report also has some suggestions. For a large car, the Hyundai Sonata is the number one choice. For a minivan, check out the Honda Odyssey. Looking for a standard pickup? The Ford F-150 FFV might be the green answer. For a mid-size SUV, the Chevrolet Equinox is rated superior.
If these are the greenest cars, which are the blackest (that is, the worst for the environment?) The ACEEE named these as the meanest rides in the U.S.:
- Bugatti Veyron (8 mpg)
- Chevrolet Suburban K2500/GMC Yukon XL K2500
- Dodge Ram 2500 Mega Cab
- Chevrolet/GMC G2500 Express, G2500 Savana
- Ford F-250
- For F-150 Raptor
- Mercedes-Benz ML 63 AMG
- Mercedes-Benz G 550
- GMC Sierra K2500
- Bentley Mulsanne
- Benley Continental GTC
- Ford Expedition/Lincoln Navigator