The Greenest Car on the market for 2015 is the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive, with a miles per gallon equivalent of 107 MPGe, and you can even get it as a convertible. There are five plug-in cars in the top six of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) environmental ratings, and only one conventional gas guzzler — the Mitsubishi Mirage — made the Top 12.
“I think the general theme is that the electric car market is continuing to develop with more and more manufacturers (both foreign and domestic) producing these vehicles,” said Shruti Vaidyanathan, senior transportation analyst at ACEEE. “As evidence, take a look at the previous Greenest lists. We’ve typically only seen two or three spots on the Greenest list going to electric vehicles in the last few years.”
The Chevy Spark EV, with a 59 green score, is also an enviro champ. (Photo: Chevrolet)
Yes, today’s econo champs are getting a whole lot better — a bunch offer 40 mpg on the highway — but it’s hard to beat hybrids and battery cars. The Smart ForTwo Electric Drive (coupe/cabrio) gets a green score of 61, and the Chevrolet Spark EV 59, followed by the Fiat 500e (also 59), the Toyota Prius C (57) and the Nissan Leaf (also 57). The Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid, Lexus CT 200h, Honda Civic Hybrid, Honda Civic Natural Gas and Mitsubishi Mirage all share 54 ratings. The Ford Focus Electric and VW Jetta Hybrid are at 53, rounding out the top 12. One drawback here is that both the Spark EV and the Fiat 500e are available only in California and Oregon.
ACEEE has been doing these ratings for 18 years, and always gives consumers a lot of choices. The “Greener Choices” list is all about best cars in each category, which is why you see vehicles like the Chevrolet Colorado (20 mpg city/27 highway) on the list. It’s the most environmentally friendly midsized pickup — a notably fuel-hungry category.
So if you’re shopping, here are some highlights:
Compact: Toyota Prius C (53/46 mpg)
Midsize: Toyota Prius (51/48 mpg)
Two-Seater: Smart ForTwo Electric Drive coupe/cabrio (34/38 mpg)
Small Wagon: Honda Fit (34/41 mpg)
Wagon: Toyota Prius V (44/40 mpg)
Subcompact: Chevrolet Spark (30/39 mpg)
Large Sedan: Ford C-Max Hybrid (42/37 mpg)
Small SUV: Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid (30/34 mpg)
Midsized SUV: Chevrolet Trax (29/34 mpg)
Midsized Pickup: Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon (20/27 mpg)
Minivan: Nissan Quest (20/27 mpg)
Standard Pickup: Ford F-150 (19/26 mpg)
Great fun is the “Meanest List,” sort of a hall of shame. The dirtiest vehicle you can buy right now is the Ram 2500 standard pickup, with a miserable 12 mpg in the city and 17 on the highway. Close behind it is a clutch of Chevy express and cargo vans (10/15 mpg), and the Bugatti Veyron supercar. How does 8 mpg in the city grab you? I'm not sure why it isn't in last place, but ACEEE factors in more than just fuel economy.
Other supercars on the list are the Bentley Mulsanne (11/18), the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe (11/19), the Lamborghini Aventador Roadster (10/16) and the Ferrari FF (11/16).
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