The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has released their list of the most environmentally friendly vehicles for 2012. “Earning a spot on the ‘Greenest’ list is proving to be a real challenge for automakers given the variety of vehicle technologies on the market and the proliferation of highly efficient conventional vehicles. Just using the latest technology does not guarantee a top spot,” said ACEEE lead vehicle analyst Shruti Vaidyanathan.
1. Mitsubishi i (126 city/ 99 hwy MPGe*) – according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy rates this as the “greenest” car on sale in America.
2. Honda Civic Natural Gas (27 city/ 38 hwy MPGe) – this vehicle won the Green Car of the Year award at the L.A. Auto Show last November.
3. Nissan Leaf (106 city/ 92 hwy MPGe) – ties with Honda Civic Natural Gas in overall environmental impact
4. Toyota Prius (51 city/ 48 hwy MPG) – the Prius family is growing to include the large Prius V and the smaller Prius
5. Honda Insight (40 city/ 43 hwy MPG) – the Insight is a “mild hybrid,” meaning it relies more on its gas engine than a full hybrid does
6. Smart ForTwo (34 city/ 38 hwy MPG) – dispenses with battery-based technology in favor of its tiny size and tiny engine
7. Scion iQ (36 city/37 hwy MPG) – similar to the Smart ForTwo but has a back seat for passengers; the iQ is also the only vehicle in the market with a rear window airbag
8. Honda Civic Hybrid (44 city/ 44 hwy MPG) – redesigned with new lithium-ion batteries and a slightly bigger gas engine
9. Lexus CT200h (43 city/ 40 hwy MPG) – Lexus’ first hybrid-only model; tuned for sporty driving rather than just maximum fuel economy
10. Toyota Camry Hybrid LE (43 city/ 39 hwy MPG) – redesigned for 2012 this model gets much better fuel economy than last year’s mode
11. Honda CR-Z (31 city/ 37 hwy MPG) – the only hybrid car on the market with a manual transmission
12. Toyota Yaris (30 city/ 38 hwy MPG) – newly redesigned Yaris sports many improvements over last year’s version including better fuel economy
*MPGe – miles per gallon gasoline equivalent is the measure of the average distance traveled per unit of energy consumer
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