With aggressive national fuel economy standards kicking in for model years 2012 to 2025, automakers have provided consumers with an impressive array of efficient vehicle options for 2013, according to new environmental automotive ratings. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy's (ACEEE) 15th annual comprehensive environmental ratings can be found at greenercars.org.
The "Greenest" list is dominated by new models this year, with the Toyota Prius C securing the top spot with a Green Score of 58. Having made its debut on the American vehicle market in 2012, the Prius C is Toyota's compact addition to the Prius family. The original Prius (No. 3), the new plug-in Prius hybrid (No. 4), and the larger Prius V (No. 11) all made the "Greenest" list this year as well. Other top scorers are the Honda Fit electric vehicle (No. 2) and the Honda Civic Hybrid (No. 5). Three Ford vehicles made the list: the Focus EV and the Fusion and C-Max hybrids. European vehicles also placed, with VW's new Jetta hybrid and the Smart ForTwo placing No. 7 and No. 8.
This year, conventional vehicles were largely driven off the "Greenest" list by hybrid-electric, plug-in hybrid-electric, and all-electric vehicles. The Scion IQ and Smart ForTwo are the only non-hybrid, non-plug-in vehicles to remain on the list. Even the 8-time first-place Honda Civic Natural Gas vehicle was pushed out of the top twelve in 2013.
"The vehicles at the top of this year's rankings are proof that automakers are really ramping up their offerings. There are more hybrid and electric options on the market this year than ever before and the race for a spot on the Greenest list is increasingly competitive. Automakers have revamped their offerings to meet the growing demand for efficient vehicles and new fuel economy standards," said ACEEE lead vehicle analyst Shruti Vaidyanathan.
Greenercars.org provides the facts necessary to examine the eco-performance of any 2013 model. Vehicles are analyzed on the basis of a Green Score, a singular measure that incorporates unhealthy tailpipe emissions, fuel consumption, and emissions of gases that contribute to climate change. This year, a number of updates were made to the methodology to more accurately estimate vehicles' environmental impacts. These include updates to emissions from the vehicle manufacturing process; changes to gasoline, diesel, and natural gas upstream emissions; and updates to the forecasted mix of fuels used to generate the electricity used to power electric cars.
The greenercars.org website also identifies widely-available, top models in each vehicle class. This "Greener Choices" list includes trucks and SUVs such as the Buick Encore, Chevrolet Equinox, Toyota Tacoma, and the Honda Odyssey. The Chevrolet Spark and Honda Fit top their respective car classes. As the list demonstrates, consumers can make "greener choices" whatever their vehicle needs may be. Domestic manufacturers claimed six of the twelve "Greener Choices" spots.
The "Meanest" list this year sees a number of heavier light-duty vehicles, pushing out European sports cars as the least friendly to the environment. The dirtiest vehicle for 2013 is the Ford F-350 FFV pickup truck with a Green Score of 17, followed by the Ford F-250 (FFV), and Ford E-350 wagon, both also scoring 17.
In addition to highlighting the year's "Greenest," "Meanest," "Greener Choices," and best-in-class lists, the greenercars.org website features informational write-ups on model year 2013 highlights, a consumer primer on vehicles and the environment, and advice on how to buy green when shopping for a new car or truck.
Summary Green Scores of the 1,000+ configurations of all model year 2013 vehicles are made available to subscribers of ACEEE's greenercars.org interactive database along with each configuration's fuel economy, health-related pollution impacts, and greenhouse gas emissions. Subscribers can also build custom lists for comparing vehicles. Monthly and annual subscriptions are available at greenercars.org.