To honor Earth Day, going green and living environmentally responsibly is on a lot of people’s mind. While there are a lot of small things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint, cars are still one of the leading causes of CO2 admissions, making them a great place to focus on improving.
Fortunately for the atmosphere, there is a growing market for hybrid and fuel-efficient automobiles. I asked Ben Cochrane of Go Auto which cars were the most eco to help you decide which car would be perfect for your next green ride.
To many, diesel might seem like an old and outdated technology, but there are several models out there that can get over 40 miles to the gallon, making them an eco-friendly alternative. Here are a few recent diesel powered cars that have used innovative technology to create a more fuel efficient drive.
Audi A3 TDI – The A3 TDI is a luxury diesel car that can get over 40 miles to the gallon while producing 30 percent less CO2 emissions than a comparable gasoline car. The car boasts being a powerful yet efficient vehicle with 140hp and a dual-clutch transmission that allows the car to reduce fuel waste when changing gears.
Mercedes-Benz BlueTec Hybrid – Mercedes-Benz announced a hybrid diesel engine called the BlueTec Hybrid. Available on several models such as the E 300 BlueTEC, the car is reported to get the equivalent of about 56 miles to the gallon with its 27 horsepower electric motor and 201 horsepower 4-cylinder diesel engine. While the diesel hybrid E300 will only be released in Europe at first, there is a gas hybrid version that will be released in the United States later in 2012.
One of the most common ways that people are starting to drive environmentally friendly is by driving a car with a hybrid engine. While not a perfect solution – since it still runs off of fossil fuels – it certainly helps reduce the problem and every bit counts. Here are a few of the various modern hybrid cars available.
Prius – The Toyota Prius was one of the first hybrid electric cars to hit the market and still remains one of the most gas efficient cars today with each Prius driving worldwide” at about 50 miles per gallon. The car comes in four different models with varying features including a solar roof package and auto dimming lights. The engine is also one of the quietest on the markets making it a smooth and pleasant drive.
Honda CR-Z – This is Honda’s sports hybrid vehicle that has both manual and automatic transmission and reaches almost 40 miles per gallon on the highway. The car comes with the ability to chose between a sports and economy setting so that you can get the extra boost of performance or save money when you need it.
Chevrolet Volt – The Volt won the Motor Trend’s 2011 Car of the Year award for its innovative plug-in hybrid design. The car is able to travel about 40 miles on electric power alone without ever having to use gasoline. Since the vast majority of car trips are local, between 25-50 miles, the Volt essentially can have the efficiency of a full electric plug-in.
Lexus CT 200h – As a luxury car producer, Lexus has released five hybrid automobiles with the newest being the CT 200h. The car gets a combined city-highway mileage of 42 miles to the gallon making it a great combination of luxury and efficiency.
As the least harmful to the environment, cars with electric engines are starting to catch on as they become more affordable and practical. One of the pitfalls that electric cars currently face is how long it takes to charge to full, the equivalent of a full tank of gas, versus how long it takes to pump gas.
Nissan Leaf – Nissan has really put a lot of thought and research into creating an electric car and infrastructure with charging stations to help make fossil fuels a thing of the past. The Leaf gets the equivalent of 99 miles to the gallon and can travel a total of 73 miles on one charge. While not ideal for road trips, the Leaf is a great and green car for the daily commute.
Better Place – An organization called Better Place has developed their vision of an electric car infrastructure that allows electric car owners to easily travel without the hassle of waiting for it to charge. The solution the company offers is to have battery “switch stations,” similar to gas stations, that allow you to exchange your exhausted battery for a fresh one in about five minutes or less and doesn’t even require the driver to get out of the car. The organization launched originally in Israel and has branched out to other countries including Australia, China, Denmark, Japan and others in North America and the European Union.
Finding an environmentally friendly alternative to the way that you currently get around is easier than ever before with governmental tax credits, a growing hybrid and electric car market, and rapid innovation. In addition to saving money on your gas bill, driving a fuel-efficient car reduces the frequency that you have to go to the gas station to fill up.
Stock Photos courtesy of Bigstock and Photo Works/Shutterstock.com