Hybrids Top List of Annual Green Car Rankings

For the fifth consecutive year, Honda’s natural gas-powered Civic GX took top honors as the greenest vehicle, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

The Toyota Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid claim spots two and three, while the Nissan Altima Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid also make the list of the ten greenest vehicles. “Hybrids stand out, even after being taken down a notch by the new fuel economy calculations,” said ACEEE vehicle analyst Shruti Vaidyanathan. The Smart Fortwo and the Toyota Yaris fall right behind the greenest hybrids, showcasing the environmental benefits of smaller passenger vehicles.

The ACEEE score incorporates unhealthy tailpipe emissions, fuel consumption, and global warming emissions to produce its annual environmental scorings of all model year 2008 cars and passenger trucks.

Diesels performed poorly due to the high levels of environmentally damaging oxides of nitrogen and particulate matter they release—despite offering greater fuel efficiency and therefore reduced greenhouse gas emissions. “We’re looking to diesels to help reduce global warming emissions, yet they’re still hanging out at environmental rock bottom,” said ACEEE Transportation Director Therese Langer.

The diesel-powered Volkswagen Touareg receives the dubious honor of being the year’s most
environment-unfriendly vehicle, leading a pack of diesel-powered vehicles that includes the Mercedes-Benz GL320 CDI, R320 CDI, and ML320 CDI, and the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Green car shoppers are eagerly awaiting diesel vehicles that can pass emissions standards in all 50 states—but the wait continues. Those vehicles with advanced diesel technology are not yet in the market, and therefore are still missing in this year’s ACEEE rankings.

ACEEE’s website, www.greenercars.org, identifies a selection of widely available greener models in each vehicle class.


  • babu flubber

    BMW seems convinced that they’ve solved the nasty diesel emissions problem using “Advanced Diesel Technology”. One could even say that BMW is staking their reputation on it. I understand that these cars have not yet officially been marketed, but if it’s as clean as BMW claims, why won’t ACEEE at least acknowledge it? hmmm…

  • Oracle

    Well babu, maybe for the same reason the Chevy Volt isn’t listed either…When the rubber hits the road maybe they will be.

  • Eric

    I wonder why the Honda Clarity fuel-cell vehicle isn’t on that list? Unless, they’re considering more mainstream, “popular” cars.

  • WVhybrid

    Can the highest rated car be fueled by gasoline as well as CNG? If it only uses CNG, then it won’t be very useful for a lot of folks. The closest CNG station to my home is 105 miles away. That’s a long way to go for a refill.

    A US. Dept of Energy web page lists 790 CNG refueling stations nationwide, with zero stations in 8 states, and only one station each in Mississippi and Louisiana. Why would this car be considered a “green” car when the fuel tank is likely to be “empty” in large parts of the country?

  • ex-EV1 driver

    Eric,
    There is a lot of Natural Gas that is wasted in the Hydrogen manufacturing process. While they don’t produce any local emissions, anything fueled by hydrogen is going to be pretty inefficient and thus, not very ecological.
    It is much greener to just burn the Natural Gas than to convert it to hydrogen and burn it or put it through a fuel cell.
    Don’t worry folks, next year, the Tesla Roadster and possibly the Phoenix SUT will blow away the CNG entry by doing away with gasoline altogether.

  • Jeff

    The amount of energy to produce natural gas is far greater then what one may think. My question is very simple. The old VW Beattle was an air cooled engine “no anti-freeze” it takes petroleum to produce coolant. Why has no one persued the concept of air driven motors.
    I saw, “1 time” about a month ago, a guy in France who actually developed a completely run “Air Motor” his car was driven completely by air. Then again, an after-market companies (Napa and Auto Zone) and car company can’t make money from air.

  • Neil

    Does anyone think that some of the smaller, more fuel efficient 2008 clean diesels might make this list next year? I know the 50 state-legal diesels will have a lot less pollution and diesels get more mpg than gasoline… One problem is that a gallon of diesel puts out about 7% more CO2 per gallon than gasoline, so a mpg improvement 7% signifies no real reduction in greenhouse gasses. A mpg improvement of more than 7% would represent an overall environmental gain if the other pollutants are kept to a minimum, right?

    For what it’s worth, already own a hybrid and an older BMW. I am looking at keeping the hybrid and replacing the ’97 BMW 328 (16/24 mpg) with the ’08 335d (23/33 mpg). I was hopeful about the 128i, but it gets no better gas mileage than a regular 3 series…

  • Dan K.

    I’m considering buying the Honda CNG vehicle. It apparently comes with a CNG home re-fueler; and there are apparently over a hundred places in California to get CNG fuel as well. But I’m still concerned about convenience.

    Also, another good source of information on hybrid vehicles is the
    http://www.HybridCenter.org website.

  • DLink

    We have owned a Honda Civic GX (CNG) since December of 1998. While there are fewer CNG stations available than gasoline, a little planning allows an owner to drive this car just as he/she would any other car. While driving ONLY within town limits, we regularly have a range of 160 to 180 miles. While driving on highways and freeways (at legal speed limits–yes, speeding increases CNG consumption just as it does gasoline) we regularly have a range of 220 to 290 miles. Remember that this is the original Civic GX and its range is lower than the newer GX. We thoroughly enjoy driving this car in the HOV lanes with only one person, paying no bridge tolls during commute times, and realizing that we are much cleaner and greener than any hybrid on the road today. The only time that the Civic GX fell from the top green spot was when pure EVs were available. We wanted a pure EV when we purchased this car, but none were available for purchase (only lease). If you want greater range and don’t care about reducing your already half-size trunk space, a company in Arizona will install a second tank to improve your range to nearly 400 miles. This would allow for travel anywhere in the US. We are able to travel from the Sacramento, CA area north to Redding, west to San Francisco Bay area, east to Lake Tahoe, and along highway 101 or highway 99 south to the Mexican border. Our only limitation is reaching Oregon, though an additional 50 miles of range would even allow that.

    A good source for a CNG station booklet is the California Natural Gas Coalition. We have received station booklets from them for free since 1999.

    I hope this has helped you in making your decision. Fuel cell vehicles are an expensive folly, ending up emitting more greenhouse gases and pollution generating the hydrogen than would occur simply burning methane in a Civic GX. When the US builds more biomethane plants, we will have greenhouse gas neutral Civics, so the future looks bright. Durability of the Civic engine is still untested with greater than 500,000 miles expected before engine rebuilds. We are over 80,000 already and believe the engine will outlast the car.

  • DLink

    Regarding the Phill from FuelMaker, this home refueling device for CNG was to have originally cost $1,900 and drop to $1,000 within a year. Unfortunately, costs increased and the exchange rate between the US and Canada went in Canada’s favor, driving up the purchase cost. It now costs approximately $3,500 for Phill. When we purchased our Civic GX in December 1998, a FuelMaker FMQ-2-36 was available new for $4,500, was twice as fast as Phill, and could be rebuilt after 3,000 hours for much less money. Though new FMQ-2-36 units have increased in cost, a used one may still be purchased, though there are some tradeoffs. You WILL receive a tax writeoff, which can reach up to $2,000, but I recommend speaking with others who have owned and used FuelMaker products, including Phill, first. There are better deals available when purchasing a new Civic GX with Phill, however, the GX is no longer under $19,000 like when we purchased ours in 1998.

    This is an excellent car and is much greener/cleaner than anything else currently on the road in any significant numbers. We only wish that it was not the ONLY CNG vehicle available in the US when there are over 15 models for sale in Europe, including range extending bifuel models with even better average mpg than our 30-31 overall average.

  • Janus

    I think this is a right choice, The Honda Civic GX is definitely the most eco-friendly car around. I just hope they could distribute more of these. -The Car Resource

  • Stu

    I have a 2007 Camry Hybrid. I regularly get 38MPG and can push it to 39040 if I drive the speed limit :-)
    Gas-electric hybrids are the only solution, until a national infrastructure is built supporting renewable fuels. EV plug-ins are a joke. Wiat until you get your electric bill .. besides electricity must be produced by renewables to make EV’s environmentally afriendly and cost effective.

    Physics 101 my friends .. from a Physics major.

  • CNG curious

    Good ol’ T-Boone is making a good pitch for CNG. There are a couple of business guys and I are discussing funding a fast fill station in Northern Va. Unfortunately, it is a zero return now … a “Build it, and they will come” deal. That’s a hard sell. For those of you who have CNG vehicles, what has your experiences been? Lay it all out.

  • Fuelmaker.ru

    Hybrid is future of all cars

  • alfred

    The most harmful greenhouse gas is water vapor

  • dewey hodo

    Hi, Some time ago I suggested using a barbecue gas cylinder which can be exchanged everywhere as a backup or increased range for the existing tank. Nobody picked up this ball and ran with it nor did anyone bother to critique this idea. I think CNG NOW is not serious.

  • kenneth tippery

    Will the gemagnetic field in the earth be effected of radioactive decay by elercalic motor in the cars. Thier will be billion of cars ON THE ROAD.

  • Anonymous

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  • coolboy

    it helps peoplea lot andits green to help the envierment and its safe and it helps people a lot and the people more than me and my sisters so i think that people should get this car <3

  • macho

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  • coolboy

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