American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released its 18th annual comprehensive environmental ratings for vehicles. The publication of the 2015 ratings coincides with the release of ACEEE’s new www.greenercars.org website that will offer subscription-free access to all vehicle scores from model year 2000 and later.

The following vehicles made the Greenest List for 2015 with their scores:                                       

1.      Mercedes-Benz Smart ForTwo Electric Drive Convertible / Coupe: 61

2.      Chevrolet Spark EV: 59

3.      Fiat 500E: 59

4.      Toyota Prius C: 57

5.      Nissan Leaf: 57

6.      Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid: 54

7.      Lexus CT 200H: 54

8.      Honda Civic Hybrid: 54

9.      Honda Civic Natural Gas: 54

10.  Mitsubishi Mirage: 54

11.  Ford Focus Electric: 53

12.  Volkswagen Jetta Hybri: 53                                                                                    

The Smart ForTwo Electric Drive tops the Greenest List once again this year with the highest Green Score ever. Toyota’s Prius Plug-in and original Prius perform exceedingly well again in 2015, jointly taking spot No. 6. The original Prius also scores a 54 (but is not listed on the Greenest). At No. 10, the Mitsubishi Mirage was the sole conventional vehicle to earn a spot on the list this year, although the conventional Smart ForTwo is not listed only because its all-electric counterpart already had claimed a spot on the Greenest List. Six out of 12 places in this year’s Greenest List were claimed by plug-in electric vehicles.

“As the electric vehicle market continues to develop, we’re seeing a number of different options from a variety of automakers, including several from American manufacturers,” said Shruti Vaidyanathan, lead vehicle analyst with ACEEE.

Electric vehicles claimed additional spots on this year’s Greenest List largely because of the inclusion of one vehicle that just missed a spot on the 2014 Greenest List (the Ford Focus Electric), as well as two vehicles that were left off the list last year because of low sales volume (the Spark EV and Fiat 500E). Two mid-size vehicles also appear on the Greenest List: the Nissan Leaf and Toyota Prius Plug-in, indicating that green need not mean small. This year’s list also features a diverse array of manufacturers: nine automakers are represented by the 12 top-scoring vehicles, including two U.S. manufacturers (Chevrolet and Ford) and two European manufacturers.

Some of the greenest are only being offered in a handful of states, and the larger classes are not represented. Hence www.greenercars.org also identifies practical options among the top widely available, automatic transmission, petroleum-fueled models. The Greener Choices list includes trucks and SUVs, such as the Ford F-150, the Chevrolet Trax and the Nissan Quest. The gasoline-powered 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 five of the 12 Greener Choices spots:

1.      Toyota Prius C: 57

2.      Toyota Prius: 54

3.      Mercedes-Benz Smart ForTwo Convertible / Coupe: 53

4.      Honda Fit: 51

5.      Toyota Prius V: 51

6.      Chevrolet Spark: 51

7.      Ford C-Max Hybri: 48

8.      Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid: 46

9.      Chevrolet Trax: 45

10.  Chevrolet Colorado / GMC Canyon: 38

11.  Nissan Quest: 36

12.  Ford F-150: 36

Greenercars.org provides the facts necessary to examine the eco performance of any 2015 model. The site assigns each vehicle a Green Score, a single measure that incorporates life cycle greenhouse gas and criteria pollutant emissions. Updates to this year’s methodology include the incorporation of a fuel cell vehicle analysis and a new estimate of nuclear damage costs.

This year, in addition to providing Green Scores for electric vehicles based on the national average grid mix, www.greenercars.org will include a downloadable spreadsheet tool that will allow users to calculate region-specific Green Scores for electric vehicles based on their local grid mix, along with annual fuel cost estimates using regional electricity prices.

“How green your electric vehicle is has a lot to do with where you plug it in,” Vaidyanathan said. “A car that is charged using electricity generated from natural gas or renewables is going to have significantly less impact on the environment than one charged on a coal-heavy grid.”

The Meanest List this year is composed of heavier medium-duty vehicles and European sports cars that are the least-friendly to the environment:                                                                                     

1.      Ram 2500 (Class 2b): 17

2.      Chevrolet/GMC G2500 Express / Savana (Cargo Conversion) (MDPV): 18

3.      Bugatti Veyron: 19

4.      Bentley Mulsanne: 21

5.      Mercedes-Benz G 63 AMG: 21

6.      Mercedes-Benz G 550: 22

7.      Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe: 23

8.      Lamborghini Aventador Roadster: 23

9.      Toyota Sequoia FFV: 23

10.  Lexus LX 570: 23

11.  Ferrari FF: 23

12.  Nissan Armada: 23

In addition to highlighting the year’s Greenest, Meanest, Greener Choices and best-in-class lists, www.greenercars.org features informative write-ups on model year 2015 highlights, a consumer primer on vehicles and the environment, and advice on how to buy green when shopping for a new car or truck.

Green Scores of the 1,000-plus configurations of all model year 2015 vehicles are available for free in the www.greenercars.org interactive database, along with each configuration’s fuel economy, health-related pollution impacts and greenhouse gas emissions. Visitors to the database also may build custom lists for comparing vehicles.

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