Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The new cars: What's mean, what's green?

The green car movement is advancing so fast that it can be hard to keep up.

We’ll discuss that further a little later on.

(Image: Bugatti Veyron, the fastest, most expensive and among the least fuel-efficient street cars in the world. Credit: www.bugatti.com)

If you don’t give a darn about green, and want to make some kind of statement by driving the most carbon-spewing mess of a vehicle you can, there are options.

GreenerCars.org has done us the favor of identifying the blackest of cars, its “meanest” as opposed to greenest car list.

What’s, from an environmental standpoint, the worst car in the world? According to GreenerCars, it’s the Bugatti Veyron. Makes your heart flutter how hot this car is. Its 1000 horsepower and 250-mile-an-hour top speed will cost you though. It’s also the most expensive street car in the world, at $1.7 million.

It gets 8 miles to the gallon in the city and 15 on the highway.

American cars take the next few “meanest” car slots: The Chevrolet Suburban K2500 and its twin the GMC Yukon XLK2500 is next, followed by the Dodge Ram 2500 Mega Cab. Another Chevy is in fourth, followed by a couple of Fords, the F250 and the F150 Raptor.

Everybody’s favorite bad guy, the Ford Expedition/Lincoln Navigator slides in at 12th place on the mean list.

But if you insist on driving a car, and you don’t think life in the Islands is about helping damage the environment, there are, shall we say, less destructive options.

GreenerCars’ greenest vehicles of 2011 are, starting with the winner, the Honda Civic GX, Nissan Leaf, Smart ForTwo Cabriolet or Coupe, Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid, Honda Insight, Ford Fiesta SFE, Chevrolet Cruze Eco, Hyundai Elantra, Mini Cooper, Toyota Yaris and Chevrolet Volt.

The Smart Fortwo electric actually beats them all, but GreenerCars doesn’t consider it eligible for the list because hardly any are available in the United States.

It’s a nice mix of power supply on the green list. You’ve got gasoline cars, natural gas cars, electric cars, hybrids of various kinds.

Of course, this isn’t all apples to apples. Some of the cars are two seaters, and the Honda CR-Z wins that one in automatic and the Mercedes Smart Fortwo Cabriolet wins the manual two-seater category.

For compact cars, the Honda Civic GX wins for automatics and the Chevrolet Cruze Eco for manuals.

Need a midsize wagon? It’s the Kia Rondo. A minivan? The Honda Odyssey.

Pickup trucks are uniformly ugly when it comes to mileage. For a standard pickup, the Ford F-150 FFV is the top automatic and the Nissan Frontier six-cylinder is the top manual, inching out the Ford Ranger. For compact pickups, it’s the Chevy Colorado auto and the Ford Ranger manual.

If you need details on these or any other car, see. http://www.greenercars.org/greenbook.htm.

GreenerCars is a project of ACEEE, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. Here's their press release on the new car listings.

© Jan TenBruggencate 2011