For the past eight years, the Honda Civic Natural Gas has dominated the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy's (ACEEE) list of America's greenest cars. But in 2012, the emergence of new cars and technologies has shaken up the market for green cars.
This year, the Mistubishi i-MIEV was awarded the top spot this year with a ranking of 58, the highest score awarded since the rankings began in 1998. The "green score" considers unhealthy tailpipe emissions, fuel consumption, and the emission of gases that contribute to climate change.
Mitsubishi's electric vehicle also beat out better-known electric and hybrid models like the Nissan Leaf and the Toyota Prius, with a combined city and highway fuel economy of 112 miles per gallon equivalent.
“Even taking into account the emissions generated from the electricity used to power the i-MIEV, it still handily outscores other vehicles on the market today,” said ACEEE lead vehicle analyst Shruti Vaidyanathan. “It’s increasingly obvious that automakers are fully invested in providing consumers with the widest possible array of vehicle choices. 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,” she said.
Half of the vehicles on the "greenest" list this year are hybrids, while three of the top 12 are fuel efficient conventional gasoline vehicles. Notably, new hybrid options from Hyundai, Kia, and Infiniti did not make the top 12 list.
Here is the full list of the top 12 greenest cars:
- 1. Mistubishi i-MIEV (Green Score: 58)
- 2. Honda Civic Natural Gas (55)
- 3. Nissan Leaf (55)
- 4. Toyota Prius (54)
- 5. Honda Insight (53)
- 6. Smart ForTwo Cabriolet/Coupe (53)
- 7. Scion IQ (52)
- 8. Honda Civic Hybrid (52)
- 9. Lexus CT 200H (51)
- 10. Toyota Camry Hybrid LE (51)
- 11. Honda CR-Z (50)
- 12. Toyota Yaris (50)
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