Using a hybrid method to calculate the greenness of vehicles, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a non-profit group funded by electric utilities and others, announced its greenest vehicles for 2011.
The ACEEE ranking expands on the ratings of the Environmental Protection Agency for fuel-efficiency and tailpipe-emissions, as well as factoring in the GREET model created by Argonne National Laboratory.
Other factors considered in the ranking are the emissions produced by the “gas-assist” power plants that add range to electric vehicles such as the GM Volt (see number 12 on this list), as well as the environmental costs associated with battery production and disposal.
- Honda Civic GX, a limited-production model Civic that has been around for a several years burns compressed natural gas and is expected to be in wider distribution and more retail showrooms in 2012.
- Nissan Leaf, a true ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle) with no tailpipe needed because it is all electric gets a number two rating due to this list factoring in considerations about mining of materials used by the batteries and also battery disposal.
- Smart Fortwo, a small and thus lightweight design uses a 1.0 liter engine to efficiently move two passengers. Drivers of more conventional looking vehicles love to make jokes about the design, such as “What happened to the rest of your car?” Keep your eyes out for the EV version of the Smart Fortwo, which you can see illustrated at right. It combines small size with electric power and promises to be about the greenest vehicle on the mass market.
- Toyota Prius
- Honda Civic Hybrid
- Honda Insight
- Ford Fiesta SFE, a Fiesta with a Super Fuel Economy package (lighter weight, more aerodynamic, with performance tweaks and mileage-maximizing tires) gets 40 miles per gallon on the highway.
- Chevrolet Cruze Eco
- Hyundai Elantra
- Mini Cooper
- Toyota Yaris
- Chevrolet Volt
- Mazda 2
For more information about the ACEEE organization and additional factors used to rate green vehicles, see http://www.greenercars.org/highlights_greenest.htm