The American Council for Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) recently released its 14th annual Greenest Vehicles list. The Honda Civic Natural Gas has held the top spot for eight years in a row, but this year’s number one title goes to the Mitsubishi i-MIEV with a score of 58, the highest score awarded since the list began 14 years ago.

The i-MIEV has a combined city and highway fuel economy of 112 miles per gallon equivalent, making it the most energy efficient vehicle available in the U.S.

“Even taking into account the emissions generated from the electricity used to power the i-MIEV, it still handily outscores other vehicles on the market today,” said ACEEE lead vehicle analyst Shruti Vaidyanathan.

Honda Insight 2012

The 2012 Honda Insight is No. 5 on the Greenest Vehicles List. Credit: Honda

The Honda Civic Natural Gas improved its fuel economy on the 2012 model, putting it in second place on the list, tying with the Nissan LEAF. The Toyota Prius, Honda Insight and the Smart ForTwo round out the list’s top six. This year, hybrids dominate the list, taking up half of the spots. In addition the Honda Civic Natural Gas, the rest of the list is made up of highly efficient, conventional gasoline vehicles.

“It’s increasingly obvious that automakers are fully investing in providing consumers with the widest possible array of vehicle choices. Earning a spot on the Greenest List is proving to be a real challenge for automakers, given the variety of vehicle technologies on the market and the proliferation of highly efficient conventional vehicles. Just using the latest technology does not guarantee a top spot,” said Vaidyanathan.

Hyundai Kia and Infiniti introduced new hybrid options this year, but none made the top twelve.

Vehicles are given scores based on measures that incorporate unhealthy tailpipe emissions, fuel consumption and climate change. The ACEEE updated some of its methodology this year to more accurately estimate the impact each vehicle has on the environment. Now the ACEEE takes into consideration emissions estimates for the manufacturing process, changes reflecting current natural gas extraction practices and possible upcoming shifts in the generation mix for the electricity used to power electric cars.




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