Top environmentally friendly vehicles named

[email protected] Make sure to check out the latest issue of Energy Digital magazine For the first time in seven years vehicle sales have risen to m...

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|Jan 28|magazine13 min read

Make sure to check out the latest issue of Energy Digital magazine 

For the first time in seven years vehicle sales have risen to more than 16 million and automakers are capitalizing on the market upswing by offering customers a wide range of options from electric, to natural gas to traditional gasoline powered vehicles. On Tuesday at greenercars.org, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released its 17th annual comprehensive environmental ratings for vehicles.

This year, the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive tops the "Greenest" list with a highest-ever score of 59 out of 100, just in time for the vehicle's nationwide rollout. Following closely behind are the Toyota Prius C and the Nissan Leaf with scores of 57 and 55 respectively.

Toyota's entire family of Priuses performs exceedingly well again this year, with the regular Prius and the Prius plug-in hybrid nabbing spots No. 4 and No. 7. Other top scorers for 2014 include the Honda Civic Hybrid (No. 5), Lexus CT 200H (No. 6), Honda Insight (No. 10), and the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid (No. 12). Making its return to the "Greenest" list after an absence last year is the Honda Civic Natural Gas vehicle (No. 9).

New to the list this year is the Mitsubishi Mirage, Mitsubishi's new subcompact offering for the U.S. market. With a Green Score of 55, the gasoline vehicle takes the 8th spot on the list. The only other non-hybrid gasoline model to make the list this year is the Smart ForTwo, which placed at No. 11.

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“We've had such an influx of hybrid and electric vehicles in recent years that the race to earn a spot on the ‘Greenest’ list is more competitive than ever, particularly for conventional vehicles. It's encouraging to see automakers investing heavily in eco-savvy vehicles on the whole,” said ACEEE lead vehicle analyst Shruti Vaidyanathan.

The greenercars.org website also identifies top widely-available models in each vehicle class. This "Greener Choices" list includes trucks and SUVs such as the Buick Encore, Nissan Rogue, and the Ram 1500 HFE. The Chevrolet Spark and Nissan Juke top their respective car classes. As the list demonstrates, consumers can make "greener choices" whatever their vehicle needs may be. Domestic manufacturers claimed four of the 12 “Greener Choices” spots.

 “From the rise in the number of efficient vehicles in car-sharing and car rental fleets to the myriad advanced technology vehicle choices available to consumers, the leading edge of the U.S. auto market is evolving rapidly,” said Steve Nadel, ACEEE's executive director.

 The site assigns each vehicle a “Green Score,” a singular measure that incorporates lifecycle greenhouse gas and criteria pollutant emissions. This year, a number of updates were made to the greenercars.org methodology to more accurately estimate vehicles' environmental impacts. These include updates to in-use emissions of methane and nitrous oxides, evaporative emissions estimates, and gasoline, diesel, and natural gas "upstream" emissions. Vehicles not intended to achieve significant sales volumes are not eligible for spots on the “Greenest” list.