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Honda Civic GX Earns Top Spot in ACEEE Ratings
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy released its 14th annual environmental ratings for the 2011 model year showing how the vehicles stack up. Some newcomers, including an electric vehicle and a plug-in electric hybrid, did well, while several of the regulars held their ground.
This year's ratings reveal a face-off among plug-ins, gasoline hybrids, diesels, natural gas vehicles, and ever-improving "conventional" gasoline vehicles. For the eightth year, the Honda Civic GX wins top honors, notwithstanding changes to Green Book® rating methods that boosted other technologies.
Following the Honda Civic GX are:
- all-electric Nissan Leaf
- gasoline-powered Smart Fortwo
- Toyota Prius
- Honda Civic Hybrid
- Honda Insight
- Ford Fiesta SFE
- Chevrolet Cruze Eco
- Hyundai Elantra
- Mini Cooper
- Toyota Yaris
- Chevrolet Volt.
The Hyundai Elantra has a four mile-per-gallon jump in fuel economy over the 2010 model. All told, five new models pushed out entries on last year's list.
The strong showing of conventional vehicles in the top twelve is a testament to how serious manufacturers have gotten about recasting these vehicles as fuel-sippers with transmission refinements, weight savings, and sophisticated internal combustion engines. "We're seeing an increasing number of highly efficient gasoline options from both foreign and domestic automakers along with the first electric vehicles. Ford introduced the Fiesta this year and Chevrolet debuted the Cruze, both of which do exceedingly well in our ratings," said ACEEE vehicle analyst Shruti Vaidyanathan.
Regarding plug-in vehicles, ACEEE Transportation Director Therese Langer noted: "Vehicles running on electricity emit nothing from the tailpipe, but their 'upstream' emissions can be substantial, depending on where they're charged. As U.S. power generation becomes cleaner, these vehicles' scores will rise."
The Green Book® methodology update also incorporates emissions associated with battery manufacture and disposal in a manner that reflects material content, drawing from Argonne National Lab's GREET model. Hybrids lose a couple of points on their Green Scores as a result, and this year, they capture only three of the top 12 spots. Once again diesels fall just short of the Greenest list.
The "Meanest" list this year is populated largely by heavy trucks and SUVs, a marked change from the numerous European sports cars that dominated last year's list. Nevertheless, the Bugatti Veyron tops the list this year with a Green Score of 19.
The ACEEE is an independent, nonprofit research group dedicated to advancing energy efficiency as a means of promoting economic prosperity, energy security, and environmental protection. For more information, visit www.aceee.org.