The Environmentally ‘Meanest’ Cars For 2014 – Forbes
While the most environmentally friendly new vehicles for 2014 are, as one might expect, an amenable assortment of hybrids, electric cars and fuel-frugal gasoline-powered models, most of us would probably pay heed to the little cartoon devils whispering in our ears and find the assortment of rides at the other end of the eco spectrum to be far more appealing.
According to the annual list of eco “meanest” cars just released by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) in Washington, D.C., the least-environmentally new vehicles for sale in the U.S. include the big and burly Ram 2500 full-size pickup truck and one of the fastest and most expensive sports cars in production, the Bugatti Veyron. Unlike the ACEEE’s assortment of most eco-benign models, which were dominated by Japanese automakers, with Honda and Toyota alone accounting for seven out of the 12 models cited, the “dirty dozen” vehicles for 2014 all come from domestic and European brands.
How mean are they? The ACEEE’s greenest car for 2014, the tiny two-seat Smart ForTwo Electric Drive, earned a “Green Score” of 59, which is the highest rating for a passenger car ever recorded by the ACEEE. By comparison, the aforementioned Ram 2500 received a rock bottom 18 points. Other saintly sinners on the meanest new-car list include the upper crust Bentley Mulsanne, Rolls-Royce Phantom and Lamborghini Aventador as well as the more proletariat Ford E-150 Wagon, and the full-size Lincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade ESV luxury SUVs.
We’re featuring the ACEEE’s complete list of this year’s dozen meanest cars, along with their estimated fuel economy ratings and Green Scores in the accompanying slide show. Those who might instead be listening to the little cartoon angels in their ears can check out the Council’s aggregate of the greenest cars for 2014 here.
The ACEEE determines its Green Score rankings according to combination of factors that primarily takes into account a vehicle’s fuel economy and its tailpipe emissions. The latter include health-damaging and smog-forming airborne pollutants like hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxide, particulate matter, carbon monoxide and formaldehyde, as well as greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change, like carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane and other compounds. The Green Scores also consider such factors as emissions estimates for a vehicle’s manufacturing process, disposal impact and (though not applicable here) natural gas extraction practices and the sources of energy used to generate power for electric cars.
And even if you’re in the market for a purposeful pickup truck or midlife crisis indulging sporty car, keep in mind that neither necessarily has to be a Mother Nature-defiling gas guzzler. The ACEEE also identifies widely available, and in many cases, more practical and affordable, “greener” choices in a wide range of model categories on its greenercars.org website. The site also includes eco-ratings of more than 1,000 separate vehicle configurations, albeit available only on a subscription basis ($8.95 for 30 days or $19.95 for 12 months). Meanwhile, information on fuel economy and tailpipe emissions ratings for all new (and previous model-year) cars and trucks can also be found at no cost on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, fueleconomy.gov.
See also: The ‘Greenest’ Cars For 2014.