Washington, D.C. — Amid numerous industry claims of eco-friendly vehicles and rising public concern about U.S. oil dependence, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) today named the year's "greenest" and "meanest" vehicles, along with environmental scorings of all model year 2007 cars and passenger trucks. This announcement marks the tenth year ACEEE has published its widely respected rankings. The vehicle scores are part of ACEEE's Green Book® Online, ACEEE's environmental guide to cars and trucks, available at GreenerCars.com.
Claiming the prize as the greenest model year 2007 vehicle is Honda's natural gas-powered Civic GX. The Toyota Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid, stalwarts on the annual "Greenest Vehicles" list, claim spots two and three, while the Nissan Altima Hybrid and Toyota Yaris, market newcomers for model year 2007, round out the top five. Others in the list include conventional and hybrid-electric vehicles from Honda, Hyundai, Kia, and Toyota. Domestic automakers were shut out of the top-twelve list.
"We've seen a lot of advertising this past year about efficient and eco-friendly vehicles being offered by domestic manufacturers. But when you look at the specs that matter, it's fair to say the imports have Detroit's number," said author and principal vehicle analyst James Kliesch, a Research Associate at ACEEE. Kliesch blames the domestics' absence from the list on their wavering approach to fuel-efficient technologies. "Certain companies committed years ago to fuel-efficient technologies—and held firm to those commitments. Today, those automakers have a clear competitive advantage in the world of green vehicles."
Widely regarded as the pre-eminent buyer's guide to environment-friendly passenger cars, trucks, and SUVs, GreenerCars.com provides the facts necessary to examine the eco-performance of any 2007 model. Vehicles are analyzed on the basis of a "Green Score," a singular measure that incorporates unhealthy tailpipe emissions, fuel consumption, and the emissions of gases that cause global warming.
This year's "Meanest Vehicles for the Environment," a list traditionally dominated by large domestic pickups and SUVs, contains only four models from Detroit. European imports make up the remainder of the list. Much of the reason for that shift is the arrival of a number of new diesel models that meet some of the dirtiest tailpipe emissions standards allowable in the United States. Five diesels populate the year's twelve-worst list, including the year's most environmentally unfriendly model, the diesel-powered Volkswagen Touareg. Rounding out the "bottom five" are the Mercedes-Benz GL320 CDI, Lamborghini Murcielago, diesel-powered Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Bentley Arnage RL. Prominent gasoline models on the list include the Dodge Ram 2500 Mega Cab pickup, Ford F-250 pickup, and Lincoln Navigator SUV.
"Given the arrival this year of ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel, having five diesels show up on the Meanest Vehicles list is a letdown," noted Therese Langer, ACEEE's Transportation Program Director. "Fortunately, these same manufacturers have already announced plans to bring much cleaner diesels to the United States in 2008, using an entirely different emissions control strategy." While diesels are more efficient than gasoline-powered vehicles with similar performance, they produce higher levels of environmentally damaging nitrogen oxides and particulate matter and consequently require more sophisticated emissions control.
The GreenerCars.com Web site also identifies a selection of top widely available models in each vehicle class. This "Greener Choices" list includes larger vehicles, such as the Ford Escape Hybrid SUV, GMC Sierra Classic C1500 pickup, and Toyota Sienna minivan. Passenger cars such as the Hyundai Sonata and Ford Focus Wagon also top their respective classes. As the list demonstrates, consumers can make "greener choices," whether they need a sedan, minivan, pickup truck, or SUV.
"To answer the President's energy security call to cut oil consumption, we need an American fuel that emits nothing from the tailpipe. That fuel is energy efficiency—the first fuel in the race for energy security," commented Bill Prindle, ACEEE's Acting Executive Director. "We must boost fuel economy if we hope to replace oil with biofuels or any other energy source. The good news is that we can boost fuel economy with the technologies on our Greenest Vehicles list, easing our pain at the pump while revitalizing our auto industry and slowing global warming."
In addition to highlighting the year's "Greenest," "Meanest," "Greener Choices," and best-in-class lists, the GreenerCars.com Web site contains informational write-ups on model year 2007 highlights, a consumer primer on vehicles and the environment, and advice on how to buy green when shopping for a new car or truck.
Available to subscribers of the ACEEE's Green Book® Online interactive database are summary "Green Scores" of the 1,300+ configurations of all model year 2007 vehicles, along with each configuration's fuel economy, health-related pollution impacts, global warming emissions, and estimated fuel expenses. Subscribers to ACEEE's Green Book® Online can also build custom lists for comparing vehicles. Monthly and annual subscriptions to ACEEE's Green Book® Online are available at GreenerCars.com. Press materials are available from ACEEE Publications.