Nissan Leaf And Mitsubishi Mirage Are Named 2014′s Greenest Vehicles

Nissan’s Leaf has the smallest life-cycle environmental footprint while the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage has the smallest life-cycle environmental footprint of any conventionally powered model year 2014 automobile available in the North American market.

This according to Santa Rosa, California-based Automotive Science Group (ASG), which said it conducted a comprehensive life-cycle assessment of over 1,300 automobiles across nine categories to distinguish the best model year 2014 vehicles in environmental, economic, social and “all-around” performance.

ASG said it wants to equip auto consumers with a car buying guide founded on principled facts, a departure from subjective test drive “editor reviews” that have long been the industry norm.

Using a unique combination of vehicle data inputs that include conventional specifications as well as ground-breaking social, environmental and economic performance indicators, ASG explained its back-end algorithms are wildly complex, but the front-end results – meaningful vehicle ratings and distinguished awards – are forthright and consumer-friendly.

ASG believes with the information it released today, consumers can now prioritize vehicle choices based on ethical and/or budgetary objectives. Whether it’s a commitment to buy American-made, an environmental prerogative to reduce one’s carbon footprint, or purely an economic choice to save thousands of dollars in fuel costs, ASG’s vehicle ratings are said by the company to be the guidepost for the 21st Century car buyer.

“We believe our Index is the market differentiator for today’s hyper-competitive automotive marketplace,” says Colby Self, Managing Director of the Automotive Science Group. “Based on the principles of ecological economics, we have developed a comparative automotive assessment that recognizes corporate social responsibility efforts that ultimately lead to the best end-products for the market while remaining financially relevant to mainstream consumers.”

ASG’s 2014 study found the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage to hold the smallest life-cycle environmental footprint of any conventionally powered model year 2014 automobile available in the North American market (with minimum four person occupancy). ASG added with an EPA estimated 40 MPG combined and a material composition weighing less than 2,000 lbs, the life-cycle assessment – from extraction of natural resources, through manufacturing, distribution, estimated life miles driven with fuel inputs, to end-of-life processing and recovery – identifies the Mirage as an example of how conventional vehicles can reduce environmental impacts while delivering cars that are competitive in the market.

Looking to advanced automotive technologies, ASG’s 2014 study found the Nissan Leaf to hold the smallest life-cycle environmental footprint of any model year 2014 automobile available in the North American market (with minimum four person occupancy). ASG added this U.S. assembled, battery electric vehicle with an estimated 84 mile driving range is the best selling all-electric car in the world for good reason, and now consumers can be confident that the increased environmental impacts of manufacturing the battery electric technology is more than offset with increased environmental performance during operational life.

Still commenting on the Leaf, ASG said while the electricity mix of the U.S. grid varies by region, the average mix in 2014 provides an energy source for the Nissan Leaf that is environmentally beneficial. Looking forward, energy forecasts identify a cleaner electricity mix across the U.S. grid, further increasing the environmental benefits of electric technologies in future years.

ASG explained from an economic standpoint, the 2014 Chevrolet Spark was revealed to have the lowest cost of ownership over a five-year economic forecast, taking into account purchase and operating costs of all model year 2014 automobiles available in the North American market (with minimum four person occupancy).

And finally, from a social performance perspective – considering the rights of those charged with vehicle manufacture and assembly – ASG said the BMW Group and Nissan both produced award-winning vehicles in multiple classes, demonstrating sound corporate social responsibility initiatives.