Ram 2500Every year, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) looks into the soul of the American automobile market and figures out which vehicles are evil. This is how it comes up with a "meanest" vehicle rating. Wait, no, that's not right. In reality, ACEEE rates vehicles using Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board fuel economy data and "other specifications reported by automakers" to find both the meanest and greenest vehicles of the year. In other words, the least and the most efficient. For 2014, the greenest vehicle is the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive while the meanest is the Class 2B Ram 2500. The results are published over on Greener Cars.

The highest possible score in ACEEE's formula would result in 100, but the Smart ED won with a 59, showing just how much further the industry has to go to really green up its act, according to ACEEE. Aside from fuel use, ACEEE looks at pollution - particulates, greenhouse gases, etc. - from vehicle and fuel production and its effect on health. The average vehicle, ACEEE says, scores a 37 while those mean ones only manage a 17 or so. It's interesting to note that 59 is the highest score ACEEE has ever handed out, but the calculations were also changed for 2014 (detailed PDF here). Oh, and in case you were curious about the ever-popular Tesla Model S? The ACEEE said the 85-kWh model was totally average with 37 points, mostly because it's so heavy.

Other highly ranked green vehicles this year included the Prius family (shocker) as well as the Honda Civic Hybrid, the Mitsubishi Mirage and the Lexus CT 200H. Last year, the Toyota Prius C was named the greenest vehicle and Ford drove away with the meanest title, thanks to three vehicles, the F-350 FFV and F-250 FFV trucks and the E-350 Wagon van. You can see winners of earlier years here and this year's rankings below.
Make and Model Specifications Emission Standard a MPG:
City
MPG:
Hwy
Green
Score
MERCEDES-BENZ SMART ELECTRIC
DRIVE CONVERTIBLE / COUPE b
Electric (Li-ion bat.) ZEV / Bin 1 3.61 2.77 59
TOYOTA PRIUS C 1.5L 4, auto SULEV II / Bin 3 53 46 57
NISSAN LEAF b Electric (Li-ion bat.) ZEV / Bin 1 3.75 3.01 55
TOYOTA PRIUS 1.8L 4, auto CVT PZEV / Bin 3 51 48 55
HONDA CIVIC HYBRID 1.5L 4, auto PZEV / Bin 2 44 47 55
LEXUS CT 200H 1.8L 4, auto CVT SULEV II / Bin 3 51 48 55
TOYOTA PRIUS PLUG-IN HYBRID c Electric (Li-ion bat.) / 1.8L 4, auto CVT PZEV / Bin 3 3.9 / 51 3.0 / 49 55
MITSUBISHI MIRAGE 1.2L 3, auto CVT Bin 5 / LEV II 37 44 54
HONDA CIVIC NATURAL GAS 1.8L 4, auto [CNG] PZEV / Bin 2 27 38 54
HONDA INSIGHT 1.3L 4, auto CVT Bin 3 41 44 53
MERCEDES-BENZ SMART FORTWO CONVERTIBLE / COUPE 1.0L 3, autol [P] ULEV II / Bin 5 34 38 53
VOLKSWAGEN JETTA HYBRID 1.4L 4, auto [P] PZEV / Bin 3 42 48 53

[CNG] denotes compressed natural gas
[P] denotes premium gasoline.
"auto CVT" denotes continuously variable automatic transmission.
a A listing with two emission standards (e.g., Tier 2 bin 2/ PZEV) denotes a single vehicle carrying both a Federal and a California emission certification. Green Scores for such listings reflect the cleaner of the two certifications.
b Fuel economy for electric vehicles is provided in miles per kilowatt-hour.
c Fuel economy for plug-in hybrids is provided in miles per gallon for gasoline operation and in miles per kilowatt-hour for electric operation
Show full PR text
Greenercars.org Releases 2014 Environmental Scores: Smart ForTwo Electric Drive Tops Greenest Vehicles List

Washington, D.C. (January 28, 2014): Looking forward to vehicle sales above 16 million in 2014 for the first time in seven years, automakers are capitalizing on the market upswing by offering customers a vast array of vehicle options. Today at greenercars.org, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released its 17th annual comprehensive environmental ratings for vehicles.

This year, the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive tops the "Greenest" list with a highest-ever score of 59 out of 100, just in time for the vehicle's nationwide rollout. Following closely behind are the Toyota Prius C and the Nissan Leaf with scores of 57 and 55 respectively. Toyota's entire family of Priuses performs exceedingly well again this year, with the regular Prius and the Prius plug-in hybrid nabbing spots #4 and #7. Other top scorers for 2014 include the Honda Civic Hybrid (#5), Lexus CT 200H (#6), Honda Insight (#10), and the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid (#12). Making its return to the "Greenest" list after an absence last year is the Honda Civic Natural Gas vehicle (#9).

New to the list this year is the Mitsubishi Mirage, Mitsubishi's new subcompact offering for the American market. With a Green Score of 55, the gasoline vehicle takes the 8th spot on our list. The only other non-hybrid gasoline model to make the list this year is the Smart ForTwo which placed at #11.

"We've had such an influx of hybrid and electric vehicles in recent years that the race to earn a spot on the "Greenest" list is more competitive than ever, particularly for conventional vehicles. It's encouraging to see automakers investing heavily in eco-savvy vehicles on the whole," said ACEEE lead vehicle analyst Shruti Vaidyanathan.

"From the rise in the number of efficient vehicles in car-sharing and car rental fleets to the myriad advanced technology vehicle choices available to consumers, the leading edge of the U.S. auto market is evolving rapidly," said Steve Nadel, ACEEE's Executive Director.

The greenercars.org website also identifies top widely-available models in each vehicle class. This "Greener Choices" list includes trucks and SUVs such as the Buick Encore, Nissan Rogue, and the Ram 1500 HFE. The Chevrolet Spark and Nissan Juke top their respective car classes. As the list demonstrates, consumers can make "greener choices" whatever their vehicle needs may be. Domestic manufacturers claimed four of the twelve "Greener Choices" spots.

Greenercars.org provides the facts necessary to examine the eco-performance of any 2014 model. The site assigns each vehicle a "Green Score," a singular measure that incorporates lifecycle greenhouse gas and criteria pollutant emissions. This year, a number of updates were made to the greenercars.org methodology to more accurately estimate vehicles' environmental impacts. These include updates to in-use emissions of methane and nitrous oxides, evaporative emissions estimates, and gasoline, diesel, and natural gas "upstream" emissions. Vehicles not intended to achieve significant sales volumes are not eligible for spots on the "Greenest" list.

The "Meanest" list this year is comprised of heavier light-duty vehicles and European sports cars that are the least friendly to the environment. The dirtiest vehicle for 2014 is the Class 2B Ram 2500 with a Green Score of 18, followed by the Bugatti Veyron and the Ford E-150 FFV Wagon with scores of 19 and 21 respectively.Special use vans above 8,500 lbs are given a Green Score but are not included on the "Meanest" list.

In addition to highlighting the year's "Greenest," "Meanest," "Greener Choices," and best-in-class lists, the greenercars.org website features informational write-ups on model year 2014 highlights, a consumer primer on vehicles and the environment, and advice on how to buy green when shopping for a new car or truck.

Summary "Green Scores" of the 1,000+ configurations of all model year 2014 vehicles are made available to subscribers of the greenercars.org interactive database along with each configuration's fuel economy, health-related pollution impacts, and greenhouse gas emissions. Subscribers can also build custom lists for comparing vehicles. Monthly and annual subscriptions to greenercars.org are available on the website.

For access to all 2014 environmental scores, media should contact Patrick Kiker at 202.507.4010, pkiker@aceee.org.

About ACEEE: The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy acts as a catalyst to advance energy efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments, and behaviors. For information about ACEEE and its programs, publications, and conferences, visit aceee.org.


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  • 14 Comments
      Joeviocoe
      • 2 Days Ago
      --"A 37 for the zero-emission Tesla Model S with 85-kilowatt-hour battery pack? The same score as the Toyota Tacoma pick-up? Why? “We rated the Tesla this year, and it’s a heavy vehicle with a heavy battery,” Vaidyanathan said. Weight is one of the biggest determinants.” The lighter 60-kWh Model S was rated 38." So... apparently ACEEES doesn't use actual EPA MPGe.... but rather makes it's own distinctions based on factors such as weight. Do they even factor in regen braking (which makes the weight of an EV MUCH less of a factor)?? Tesla Model S - 89 MPGe, 4647 lbs Smart Fortwo EV - 107 MPGe, 2150 lbs So despite more than DOUBLE the weight... regen braking does make the weight factor MUCH less of a determinant.
        Aaron
        • 2 Days Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        Recently, the head of EV development at Renault went on the record as saying that aerodynamics are more important to EV range than weight. That agrees with your views too!
      Aaron
      • 2 Days Ago
      2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV scored a 58, just one point behind the Smart. I'll stick with my four-passenger vehicle with usable cargo space, thank you.
      Ele Truk
      • 2 Days Ago
      Yea, I looked at their report. The Smart ED gets lower mileage than the Leaf, and the Leaf is the only other EV listed. What about the Spark EV? What about the Fiat 500e? What about the Honda Fit EV? And why is the Smart ED more green than the Leaf when it gets lower mileage? Bogus math, perpetuating the ICE myth of a "green car" that burns fossil fuels.
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Days Ago
        @Ele Truk
        Maybe ACEEES would have a hard time justifying using the US grid average, for cars sold only in California.
      • 2 Days Ago
      Energy efficiency, and efficiency in general, is a keyword in most aspects of our future society. We are learning a lot from nature to achieve this e.g. our own brain is the most efficient ‘hyper-computer’ ever, using only the energy of some cheese burgers to compute incredible things (well… most of the time). This little ‘essay’ is not written for any ICE, BEV etc. enthusiasts, it’s simply written for anybody who interested in “all environmentally-friendly (or egregiously unfriendly) car news” (i.e. Autoblog Green). Before the conclusion I present two recent studies (from the similar countless others), which clearly sets the playground for auto- and decision makers until the middle of this century. DoE: Annual Energy Outlook 2014… factors that shape U.S. energy markets through 2040. “Light duty vehicles [LDV] powered by motor gasoline remain the dominant vehicle type… retaining a 78% share of new LDV sales in 2040. …advanced technology fuel efficiency subsystems are added, such as micro hybridization, which is installed on 42% of new motor gasoline LDVs in 2040…” etc. Now the hybrid, diesel, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles: “- Hybrid electric vehicles (excluding micro hybrids) at 5% of new sales in 2040, up from 3% in 2012, - Diesel vehicles at 4% in 2040, up from 2% in 2012 - Plug-in hybrid vehicles / electric vehicles at about 1% each, both up from negligible shares in 2012.” http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/er/pdf/0383er(2014).pdf And another (even more) surprising study: Science Daily Study: Electric drive vehicles have little impact on US pollutant emissions January 21, 2014 | North Carolina State University Summary: A new study indicates that even a sharp increase in the use of electric drive passenger vehicles by 2050 would not significantly reduce emissions of high-profile air pollutants carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide or nitrogen oxides. “We wanted to see how important EDVs may be over the next 40 years in terms of their ability to reduce emissions… We found that increasing the use of EDVs is not an effective way to produce large emissions reductions." [EDV = electric drive vehicles = hybrid / PHEV / BEV] You can analyze it here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140121143856.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news+(ScienceDaily%3A+Top+News) Apart from the ever important enthusiasm, it seems that electric drive vehicles will have unfortunately little impact on US pollutant emissions, as looking at the issue strictly from environmental / scientific / policy POV. Then what to do? Here comes the incredible importance of the “paradigm-punching” new types of carbon-neutral / negative fuels (mentioned in my earlier post about Audi’s e-fuel), processes learned from nature, which can reduce CO2 from the atmosphere simply by using them (even if nothing else changed in our overall economy). Conclusion: The way we produce energy matters more than the way we consume it.
      Marco Polo
      • 2 Days Ago
      What an absurd study conducted by ACEEE. The comparisons are even more meaningless, than other poorly conceived studies. The vehicles are so dissimilar , and produced for such different functions, that any comparison is ridiculous. The Ford F350 and RAM 2500 are obviously going to be heavier and use more fuel than a Smart Coupe EV, on the other hand, the Smart can't carry 6 large men, plus 2 tones of equipment, across rough terrain, at high speed. The Tesla model S scores lower than a Smart, well a bicycle would score better than the lot. But what would it mean ? The Smart is a small two seater, city commuter car. The Tesla is very close to replacing ICE vehicles, and in certain areas, can do so with ease. There are studies and 'studies', I fail to see any sense, let alone any value in this ACEEE offering.
      mustsvt
      • 2 Days Ago
      Could this be anymore subjective? At least the Smart finally won something besides disdain and ridicule and someone thinks the awful new Mitsubishi Mirage is wonderful.
      JakeY
      • 2 Days Ago
      The ACEEE puts a lot of "weight" on weight and is pretty much the only number they care about in terms of manufacturing and end of life recycling. From what I can understand, they pretty much take a generic battery/car manufacturing/end of life impact model and put in the vehicle weight and battery weight. Given they have to cover so many cars that's probably only practical thing they can do, but I do wonder if they tested their model by taking some random sample of cars and then doing more rigorous analysis to see if the model comes up with acceptable results. One source of error from simply using battery weight is the break down of cells vs interconnects vs cooling components. From what I am seeing, their model is likely mainly based on batteries like in the Leaf (without active cooling and with fewer interconnects), which would exaggerate battery impact for batteries where a large portion of the weight is from cooling components and interconnects. http://www.iea.org/media/workshops/2013/gfeilabelling/04.IEAGreenBookPresentation42313.pdf http://greenercars.org/greenbook_method.htm They do use the EPA cycle for the driving part, but use a 43%/57% city/highway weighting instead of the standard 55%/45%. This would give better results for most gasoline vehicles than if they stuck with the EPA combined rating.
      Scott
      • 2 Days Ago
      looks to me like daimler funded this study as a marketing expense. their math is as fuzzy as the smart's auto shift technology. this can try and be a green car but just how practical will it be with two kids and a school run?
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Days Ago
        @Scott
        Considering the number of people who live in a city.... very practical.
      Tommy
      • 2 Days Ago
      Again, Autoblog completely missing out on the fact that the Smart ED uses a Tesla Motors powertrain... Good jorb.
        Aaron
        • 2 Days Ago
        @Tommy
        Wrong. It uses a powertrain sourced from Bosch. http://www.smartcarofamerica.com/forums/f3/smart-ed-3rd-generation-debut-frankfurt-40226/
      Weapon
      • 2 Days Ago
      lol, you have to pay money just to see their full methodology. Sounds like a scam to me.
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