Vehicle emissions can affect the environment in several ways. Cars emit greenhouse gasses such as carbon dioxide, which contribute to global warming.Some air pollutants and particulate matter from cars can be deposited on soil and surface waters where they enter the food chain. These substances can affect the reproductive, respiratory, immune and neurological systems of animals.
To help car shoppers choose a “greener” ride, whether in a nod to Mother Nature or to help minimize ongoing fuel costs, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) in Washington, D.C. just released its annual survey of what it determines are the most and least environmentally friendly new vehicles for sale in the U.S.
Once again electric and hybrid-powered vehicles dominate the greenest vehicles list for 2014, with the tiny two-seat Smart ForTwo Electric Drive leading the pack with a “Green Score” of 59, which is the highest rating for a passenger car ever recorded by the ACEEE. The only other all-electric model to make the top 12 was the Nissan Leaf, coming in third place with a Green Score of 55.
In addition to the greenest vehicle recommendations, the ACEEE also identifies widely available, and in many cases, more practical and affordable, greener choices among all conventionally powered model categories on its website.