The Greenest Cars Around & How This Is Measured

Interest in fuel economy is more than karmic: the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Americans spent an average of $2,655 on gasoline in 2011. The federal government instituted new minimum standards for the fuel efficiency of autos in 2011 to help address this. Aside from money, emissions also provoke some self-interest, as they are a major ingredient of smog and, contributing as they do to global warming, could imperil the very fate of the Earth.

Which Make of Car is the Greenest?

According to a study by the nonprofit group the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), the greenest car brand around are Honda, with Hyundai and Toyota tied for second place. Honda has taken the top position every year since the study began in 2005.

The study examined the impact cars of these brands have on global warming and emissions. While Honda has led for awhile, David Friedman, senior engineer and deputy director of the UCS clean vehicles program, said, “Competition is really heating up.” He added that if Honda is to maintain its place on the list, it would have to improve fuel economy much more and reduce costs.

The Two Most Significant Lists of the Greenest Cars

The two most significant lists of the greenest cars were compiled by Kelley Blue Book (KBB) and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

Kia Cerato green
Kia cars, such as this Cerato, were absent from the lists of the greenest cars by major organizations. Photo: NRMA Motoring and Services

The Honda Fit

Three autos appeared on both of the two lists mentioned above. All were five-seat, front-wheel drive, five-door hatchbacks. One was by Honda, which is unsurprising given that this is the greenest manufacturer. The Honda Fit electric vehicle (EV) was ranked #8 by KBB and #11 by the ACEEE. It has a 1,497cc engine. Although electric autos don’t use gasoline, a figure can be calculated for estimated milage according to the amount of electricity used (MPGe) — the Fit EV got a standout rating of 118 MPGe from the EPA. This car costs $37,415 or can be leased for as low as $259/month.

Honda Fit EV greenest cars list
The Honda Fit EV was named by both Kelley Blue Book and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy as one of the greenest cars around. Photo: FotoSleuth

The Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid

The Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) was also on both lists, given rankings of #5 by KBB and #9 by the ACEEE. It has a 1,798cc engine. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Prius PHEV achieves 95 MPGe. The cost of this auto is $32,000.

The Ford Focus Electric

Last but not least, the electric version of the Ford Focus was placed #3 by both KBB and the ACEEE. It’s engine is 999cc. The Focus yields 110 MPGe. It costs $39,200.

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