Latest Technologies Keep a Low Profile in this Year’s Greenest Vehicles

January 9, 2010

Washington, D.C.—Amidst continual buzz about innovative green vehicle technologies and the impending arrival of the first full-function all-electric vehicles in a decade, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy today released environmental ratings for model year 2010 vehicles. This is the thirteenth year ACEEE has published its rankings as part of ACEEE’s Green Book® Online, the organization’s environmental guide to cars and trucks, available at greenercars.org.  

Scrambling to recover from last year’s sales slump and bankruptcies, manufacturers are introducing an array of new vehicles designed to meet the demands of fuel-conscious buyers and increasingly stringent fuel economy standards. “With the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf both scheduled to make appearances in the latter half of 2010, manufacturer interest in advanced technologies is even more intense, with a particular emphasis on electric vehicles,” said ACEEE vehicle analyst Shruti Vaidyanathan. “But the eco-stars this year are once again hybrids and smaller, conventional vehicles. Gasoline vehicles are evolving fast, but manufacturers continue to devote much new efficiency technology to boosting power.”

The “greenest vehicle” title goes once again to Honda’s natural gas-powered Civic GX, while the Toyota Prius and the Honda Civic Hybrid claim spots two and three. New arrivals to the “Greenest” list this year are the Honda Insight, the Ford Fusion/Mercury Milan Hybrid (named the 2010 North American Car of the Year), and the Hyundai Accent Blue. The remainder of the “Greenest” list is comprised largely of highly fuel-efficient conventional vehicles such as Smart Fortwo Convertible at number four and the Chevrolet Cobalt XFE and its Pontiac G5 XFE twin at number ten.

Just missing out on inclusion in the top-12 "Greenest" again this year are the diesel-powered Volkswagen Jetta and Jetta Sportwagen, part of a crop of “clean diesels” introduced in the United States last year. “While clean diesels once again perform well on our annual ranking, high prices both for the vehicles and for diesel fuel have kept them from really catching on thus far. They’re not having the impact in the U.S. that they have had in Europe, and as a result, manufacturers are scaling back production and promotion of diesels,” said Vaidyanathan.

Widely regarded as the pre-eminent buyer’s guide to environment-friendly passenger cars, trucks, and SUVs, greenercars.org provides the facts necessary to examine the eco-performance of any 2010 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 cause global warming.

The “Meanest” list this year remains largely unchanged from 2009. It is comprised once again of a variety of heavy-duty trucks and SUVs and luxury European vehicles. The Lamborghini Murcielago tops the list this year with a Green Score of 18.

The greenercars.org Web site also identifies a selection of top, widely-available models in each vehicle class. This “Greener Choices” list includes trucks and SUVs such as the Ford Escape Hybrid, GMC Canyon, Chevrolet Equinox, and the Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid. Cars such as the Honda Fit and Hyundai Sonata top their respective classes. As the list demonstrates, consumers can make “greener choices” whatever their vehicle needs may be.

In addition to highlighting the year’s “Greenest,” “Meanest,” “Greener Choices,” and best-in-class lists, the greenercars.org Web site features informational write-ups on model year 2010 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 2010 vehicles are made available to subscribers of ACEEE’s Green Book® Online interactive database along with each configuration’s fuel economy, health-related pollution impacts, global warming emissions, and estimated fuel expenses. Subscribers can also build custom lists for comparing vehicles. Monthly and annual subscriptions to ACEEE’s Green Book® Online are available at greenercars.org. For further information, contact:     

Shruti Vaidyanathan
            529 14th St NW, Suite 600
            Washington, DC 20045

Phone: 202-507-4021, Fax: 202-429-2248

Email: svaidyanathan@aceee.org

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy is an independent, nonprofit research group dedicated to advancing energy efficiency as a means of promoting economic prosperity, energy security, and environmental protection. For more information, see our Web site at www.aceee.org.

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