The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has revealed its complete annual rankings for 2007 model-year vehicles, in which each model is given a “Green Score” that allows for both emissions and fuel economy.
Topping the group’s yearly Greenest Vehicles list is the natural-gas-powered Honda Civic GX, followed by the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid, with the Nissan Altima Hybrid and the Toyota Yaris just behind. Rounding out the top ten are the Toyota Corolla, Toyota Camry Hybrid, Honda Fit, Kia Rio, and Hyundai Accent. Each of this year’s top-ranked vehicles brings a California PZEV or ULEV-II emissions rating.
In a release, the organization noted that domestic brands were absent from the Greenest Vehicles list, referring to what principal analyst James Kliesch called a wavering approach to fuel-efficient strategies. Domestic brands may soon return to the Greenest Vehicles list, as several new hybrid models are expected from both Ford and GM over the next year.
For shoppers who want to see the greenest vehicle in a particular class, the organization puts out a Greener Choices list, which this year includes the Ford Focus Wagon, Hyundai Sonata sedan, Mazda MX-5 Miata sports car, Toyota Tacoma and GMC Sierra C1500 pickups, and Toyota Sienna minivan, among others.
The Volkswagen Touareg V-10 TDI led the group’s list of Meanest Vehicles for the Environment, joined by several other diesels in the top ten, including the diesel ‘320 CDI’ versions of the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, R-Class, and ML-Class. The Lamborghini Murcielago, with its EPA city fuel economy rating of 9 mpg, was ranked third, and the 10-mpg Bentley Arnage RL garnered fifth.
With ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel available widely for the first time in the U.S. this year, it’s a little surprising that so many diesels top the list — especially when they get substantially higher fuel economy ratings compared to similar vehicles. Although the latest diesels are no longer smoky, their substantially higher nitrogen dioxide and particulate emissions brought down their scores. That should change next year, when Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen will turn to the new Bluetec emissions system, which depends on a unique urea injection system and multiple catalysts.
For more information on how the ratings are compiled, along with the ratings themselves, go to www.greenercars.com.
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