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.”

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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Yulan Lawson
Yulan Lawson2 years ago

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

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola2 years ago

thanks for the info

Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

Robert O.
Robert O.4 years ago


David M.
Eva Daniher5 years ago


David Jones
David Jones5 years ago

Interesting, thanks!

Ellinor S.
Ellinor S.5 years ago

thank you

Kirsty Robson
Kirsty Robson5 years ago


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Pat W.
Past Member 7 years ago

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!