With gas prices soaring to a national average of $4.30 per gallon, consumers are beginning to seek green vehicles as an alternative to gas-powered vehicles.
While Tesla is best known for its high-end electric vehicles and technology, it is another company that tops the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, or ACEEE, green score ranking.
“The green score is our attempt to estimate the environmental impact of vehicles on the market in a given year,” said Shruti Vaidyanathan, ACEEE’s transportation program director.
Since the 1990s, ACEEE’s GreenerCars has verified the efficiency of vehicles and even different configurations of the same model. Green scores are calculated based on official emissions and fuel efficiency tests and other specifications reported by car manufacturers.
Green vehicles, ranging from electric vehicles to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, come in many forms. There are also flexible fuel vehicles, fuel cell vehicles, natural gas vehicles and petrol hybrids.
Which electric cars are the best for the environment?
In an NBC analysis of ACEEEs 2022 GreenerCars DataPolestar, a Swedish car brand affiliated with Volvo, had the highest green score on average with 59, with Tesla coming in second with a 53.75.
Which car manufacturer is the most environmentally friendly?
Polestar had the highest green score on average with 59, with Tesla coming in second with a 53.75. Bugatti finished last with an 18.33. Sports car manufacturers generally have the lowest green scores.
At the other end of the scale, sports cars from brands like Bugatti, Lamborghini and Ferrari have the lowest green scores on average, and Vaidyanathan said their tendency for poor gas efficiency is a major factor in their rankings.
“Those vehicles are not made for efficiency,” said Vaidyanathan. “They’re made for power more than anything else, so they have really low gas mileage — sometimes on the order of five or six miles per gallon.”
Electric vehicles can both offset the cost of gas and reduce your carbon footprint by emitting fewer emissions than the typical fossil fuel car for every kilometer driven, meaning fewer chemicals are released into the atmosphere.
When it comes to the debate about which green vehicle is the most environmentally friendly, there are many factors that come into play. While green vehicles aim to tackle many climate-related issues, there are still many criticisms of the amount of pollution released into the air, as well as battery chemicals needed for green vehicles that, if not recycled or produced efficiently, can permeate into the soil. and pollute the environment.
Some automakers have effectively combated such problems, while others are still far behind. And lately, with the short supply and high demand for green vehicles, prices are also starting to rise rapidly.
However, the best-selling car brands do not exactly match higher green scores. Toyota surpassed US sales in 2021 with nearly 2 million units sold, but the brand achieved an average green score of 46.47.
Of the top five car sellers, only Honda makes the top five in terms of green scores with an average of 51.45 and 1.3 million cars sold in the US. The data does not include sales data for Polestar, but owner Volvo was not in the top 20 sales.
Do consumers buy cars from environmentally friendly brands?
While electric vehicles are increasing in popularity worldwide. The US is still a little behind with EVs making up 4% of new cars sold nationally. Only Honda makes the top five in both car sales and average green score.
Average green score versus car sales in 2021
While most people may not buy cars from the most environmentally friendly car brands, electric vehicles have become increasingly popular in recent years.
Last year, some 6.5 million electric vehicles were sold worldwide, accounting for about 9% of car sales according to CNBC† Of those sales, 535,000 were in the US, accounting for 4% of new cars sold nationally. Much of it belonged to Tesla.
As financial incentives and infrastructure for electric vehicles improve, experts say we can expect more green cars on the road.
Already in California, a state with some of the best incentives for electric vehicles in the country, more than 400,000 electric vehicles have already been registered, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center.
The states with more incentives have the most electric vehicles
More than 400,000 electric vehicles are registered in California alone – a state with some of the best financial incentives and infrastructure for electric vehicles in the country. Car buyers in other states such as Florida, Texas and Washington also make up a large part of the country’s electric vehicles.
Electric vehicle registrations per 100,000 people
In addition to incentives, Vaidyanathan says California has made electric vehicles at the heart of its approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The state has established multiple policies to support green vehicles, such as unique exhaust emission standards and zero-emission vehicle targets.
But there are still problems in accessing the benefits of green cars. Vaidyanathan says eco-friendly transportation policies should be designed equitably to help the people who need them most.
For example, communities of color live closer to major highways and ports, while also having less access to low-carbon transportation.
“Our transportation system has had a disproportionate negative impact on low-income and communities of color,” she said. “They bear a disproportionate burden of the pollution that comes from the transport sector.”
State-level policies can do much to correct these inequalities by introducing incentives to make electric vehicles a more affordable and viable choice for all.
States like New York and California have good financial incentives for electric vehicle owners like the Clean Vehicle Discount Projectoffering up to $2,000 to purchase or lease battery-powered electric vehicles and $1,000 to purchase or lease plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
Because of the many caveats to reducing your carbon footprint with green vehicles, the government wants to help achieve it by providing various incentives such as federal and state tax credits that depend on the type of car you own, as well as the state lived in.
Other non-financial incentives available to electric vehicle owners include gaining access to exclusive car lanes on highways and obtaining preferred parking spaces in certain cities.
Which eco-friendly vehicle is the most affordable?
Some may think of electric vehicles as Tesla’s expensive cars, but Vaidyanathan says the high price tag has more to do with the company’s reputation as a luxury brand.
While Tesla accounts for the bulk of electric vehicle sales and offers discounts in certain states, there are other more affordable cars for consumers to choose from, such as the Nissan Leaf, Hyundai Kona Electric and Chevrolet Bolt EV/EUV.
“These vehicles are not advertised as luxury vehicles,” she said. “They are intended as vehicles that provide an alternative for people who drive petrol versions of those vehicles and want to invest in a more environmentally friendly car.”
Electric vehicle owners can also see big savings by avoiding the gas pump and the rise in gas prices†
If electricity costs $0.13 per kilowatt hour, charging an electric vehicle with a 200-mile range with a fully discharged battery will cost about $9 to be fully charged according to the US Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center†
Here is a list of the most affordable and environmentally friendly green vehicles rated according to: Edmunds†
- 2022 Nissan Leaf – starting price $27,400, range 149 miles
- 2022 Mini Cooper SE – starting price $29,900, range 114 miles
- 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV – starting price $31,000, range 259 miles
- 2022 Mazda MX-30 – starting price $33,470, range 100 miles
- 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric – starting price $34,000, range 258 miles
- 2022 Kia EV6 – $40,900 starting price, 232 mile range
- 2022 Volkswagen ID.4 – starting at $41,995, range 280 miles
Luxury electric cars
- 2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E – Starting Price $42,895, Range 247 Miles
- 2022 Polestar 2 – starting price $45,900, range 270 miles
- 2022 Tesla Model 3 – starting price $46,990, range 272 miles
- 2022 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid – starting price $26,800, range 29 miles, mpg 53
- 2022 Toyota Prius Prime – starting price $28,220, range 25 miles, mpg of 54
- 2022 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid – starting price $29,590, range 26 miles, mpg from 46
- 2022 Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid – starting price $33,075, range 37 miles, mpg 40
- 2022 Hyundai Tucson Plug-In Hybrid – starting price $34,900, range 33 miles, mpg from 35