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How to Buy a Greener Car

How to Buy a Greener Car

Many considerations go into buying a new car or light truck. You’ll consider price, styling, comfort, performance, safety, reliability, and of course, how well the vehicle will serve your needs. The decision comes down to cost versus value: how much you are willing to pay for the features you want to get. But the costs of car use go beyond what’s on the sticker and what you’ll spend on fuel and repairs.

There are hidden but very real environmental costs, due to adverse health impacts of air pollution, oil spills and fouling of water supplies, damage to habitats, and the growing risks of climate disruption. If you care about the future of our environment, then what you value goes beyond performance or styling and the options packages featured in the showroom.

  • will help you select a vehicle that does the least harm to the planet while meeting your transportation needs. Based on official emissions and fuel-economy test results and other specifications reported by auto manufacturers, we calculate a Green Score for each car, van, pickup, and sport utility currently on the market. The Green Score falls on a scale of zero to 100. A higher score implies a greener car, meaning a vehicle having lower environmental impact.

    Green Scores and Class Rankings

  • In our tables, vehicles are grouped together by class (that is, the type or body style, such as midsize car, minivan, standard pickup, and so on). To summarize our ratings and make it easy to find the top-rated vehicles in each class, we use a five-tier ranking — Inferior, Below Average, Average, Above Average, and Superior — depending on where a model falls within its class.

  • No vehicle gets a Superior rating if its Green Score is worse than the overall average of all vehicles offered this model year, even if it ranks among the best in its class. Look for models that are ranked Superior or Above Average to easily find those that have the greenest scores.

  • To make it easy to find the most planet friendly new cars and trucks available this year, our Highlights of the Model Year provides a free preview of ACEEE’s Green Book Online, The Best of 2000. It lists the vehicles having the highest Green Scores in each class. The easiest way to buy green is to select a vehicle from the “Best of 2000″ list.

  • Our online database lists each vehicle’s emission standard, fuel economy, fuel costs, health effects, CO2 emissions, and overall environmental impact, along with its Green Score and Class Ranking. If you have identified a set of models to consider, you can look them up in ACEEE’s Green Book Online to comparison shop with the environment in mind.

  • Editor’s Note: The “Best of 2000″ list, which we link to above, was prepared in February 2000, and does not include the Toyota Prius. In July 2000, ACEEE updated its findings and sent out a press release stating that the
    “Toyota Prius Now Ranks as Greenest Gasoline Car According to ACEEE’s Green Book.”

Read more: Life, Transportation

Adapted from ACEEE's Green Book, by John DeCicco, Jim Kliesch, and Martin Thomas. Copyright (c) 2000 by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Reprinted by permission of American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. The 2002 edition is now available and can be viewed at
Adapted from ACEEE's Green Book, by John DeCicco, Jim Kliesch, and Martin Thomas. (note: The 2002 edition is now available and can be viewed at

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

Go to the Source

ACEEE's Green Book

Make a difference -- for your health and the health of the planet -- by using to comparison shop with the environment in mind. Our low-cost subscriptions will let you look up Green Scores for every car, van, pickup, and SUV on the market. Order the complete ACEEE's Green Book Online print edition, or buy instant online access to the full ACEEE's Green BookTM database. Online subscription options are either a 30-day "car shoppers special" or a full annual subscription. The annual subscription includes regular updates and ratings for new model releases throughout the now


+ add your own
3:24PM PST on Dec 22, 2012

I wish they'd let out the technology on other cars that can run on other things.

1:40AM PST on Dec 13, 2012

thanks for the info

8:17AM PDT on Jun 24, 2011

Thank you

12:39AM PDT on Apr 7, 2011


10:39PM PST on Nov 15, 2010


3:35AM PDT on Aug 26, 2010

Interesting, thanks!

7:20AM PST on Mar 4, 2010

thank you

4:00PM PST on Jan 7, 2010


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8:16AM PDT on Mar 11, 2008

I recently traded in my gas guzzler for a smaller fuel efficient car which now gets 30 mpg city. I am very happy with it!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.


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