Honda's Natural Gas Civic GX Still Top Green Car

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy recently named the year's "greenest" and "meanest" vehicles, along with environmental scorings of all model year 2008 cars and passenger trucks.

Earning the "greenest vehicle" title for the fifth consecutive year is Honda's natural gas-powered Civic GX. Hybrid-electric vehicles also continue to perform well in the annual ranking, despite being disproportionately affected by changes to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's fuel economy calculations.

The Toyota Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid claim spots two and three, while the highly-anticipated Smart Fortwo Convertible and the Toyota Yaris complete the top five, showcasing the environmental benefits of smaller passenger vehicles. Others on the "Greenest" list include conventional and hybrid-electric vehicles from Honda, Toyota, Mini, and Ford. The 2008 Ford Focus comfortably takes the 9th spot, reversing last year's shutout of domestic manufacturers.

This announcement marks the eleventh year the council has published its widely-respected rankings. The vehicle scores are part of Green Book® Online, the council's environmental guide to cars and trucks, available at greenercars.org, a subscription database.

"Hybrids stand out, even after being taken down a notch by the new fuel economy calculations," said council vehicle analyst Shruti Vaidyanathan. "And sales rose by a whopping 40 percent last year. This interest in hybrid vehicles should shine the spotlight on other green vehicle technologies that can significantly improve fuel efficiency."

This year's "Meanest Vehicles for the Environment" list is dominated by European imports; only three domestic models make an appearance. Diesel-powered vehicles continue to perform poorly due to the high levels of environmentally damaging nitrogen oxides and particulate matter they release, despite greater fuel efficiency. The eagerly-awaited "fifty-state" diesel that should greatly boost these vehicles' environmental scores is still missing in this year's offerings.

The diesel-powered Volkswagen Touareg receives the dubious honor of being the year's most environment-unfriendly vehicle, leading a pack of diesel-powered vehicles that includes the Mercedes-Benz GL320 CDI, R320 CDI, and ML320 CDI, and the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Rounding out the "dirty dozen" are low sales-volume sports cars and heavier vehicles: the Bugatti Veyron, Mercedes-Benz G55 AMG, Hummer H2, GMC Yukon 2500, Bentley Azure, and Bentley Arnage.

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