• Jun 24, 2014
AAA has released its 2014 Green Car Guide (PDF), a 140-page document that discusses what it means to be green, how to be a greener driver, how to shop for green cars, what choices are available and what green cars are on the horizon. Most importantly, the guide evaluates and ranks 83 different green vehicles, from high-mileage gasoline vehicles to battery electric cars, and everything in between. This year's king of green vehicles, according to AAA, is the Tesla Model S.

Despite some interpreting this to mean that AAA is calling the Tesla Model S (with 85-kWh battery) the greenest car, the scoring system only includes two "green" categories out of the 13 evaluated: emissions and fuel economy; the Tesla earns 10 out of 10 in both, but so do every other EV on the list. The other categories include braking, crashworthiness, visibility, slalom handling, ride quality, interior noise, acceleration, ease of entry and exit, interior size, turning circle and luggage capacity. The Model S scored very well (more than 7 out of 10 points) in every category except the last four mentioned. So, this isn't about whether the Tesla is the greenest of the lot. Instead, it's about the AAA deeming it the best all-around car of the green bunch.

The best green car value is the gasoline-powered Chevrolet Spark 1LT at $229 per point.

AAA also calculates the cost per point for the 83 cars tested. The best green car value, according to this evaluation, is the gasoline-powered Chevrolet Spark 1LT at $229 per point. The Tesla Model S is in the bottom five, at $953 per point. So while the Tesla might be AAA's best green car, those points don't come cheap.

In terms of the greenest car available, there are other evaluations out there. For instance, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released its own list earlier this year, using broader methods for evaluating what makes a car green, including emissions, fuel economy, curb weight and battery weight (the latter two are used to inform environmental impact of production and disposal). Their top three green cars are the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive, Toyota Prius C and Nissan Leaf. The Tesla Model S isn't even in the top 10. Oh, and let's not forget Green Car Journal's Green Car Of The Year, the Honda Accord. Still, which car would you rather drive every day?


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 18 Comments
      Koenigsegg
      • 5 Months Ago
      *best car available, not just "green"
      DarylMc
      • 5 Months Ago
      AAA should be congratulated for getting that document out there. At 140 pages it is a lengthy read but it provides good general knowledge about saving money, fuel, environmental issues and ways to improve the air we breathe.
      BipDBo
      • 5 Months Ago
      I'd like to see how the Elio would rate on this. I think that car is going to be a game changer because at $6,800 purchase price and 49 mpg, it will be the cheapest car to own by a very wide margin. It would also make a great rental car to serve any big city customers who own limited range EVs. I predict Elio will eventually have an electric version. You could buy an Elio for $6,800 and a ZERO S electric motorcycle with 11.4 kw*hr battery for $14,995 and hobble together a nice little electric city commuter. If Elio partnered with one of these electric motorcycle companies, I'd bet that they could make an EV with a nice usable range and offer it well under $20,000 before rebates.
        Koenigsegg
        • 5 Months Ago
        @BipDBo
        You'll drive an Elio but are afraid to get in a Smart? SMH
          BipDBo
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Koenigsegg
          I'm not afraid to get into a Smart. I just said (on the other article) that it's crazy to compare a Smart to a Mercedes. I'd much rather get into a Mercedes.
          BipDBo
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Koenigsegg
          Besides, the Elio has potential be a much safer car than the Smart. With the Elio, driving position is in a safer location, central, 100% behind the engine, but in the Smart and every other car, it is partly behind the engine and partly behind a big hole in the structure of the car known as the wheel well. The is the big, lethal weak point in crash test; the dreaded small overlap test. The Elio will have a huge advantage in this test. There is every reason to believe that side impact will be just as good as any other car, if not better because some energy will be absorbed by front wheels and suspension before impact with the door.
        eric
        • 5 Months Ago
        @BipDBo
        As neat as it looks on paper, Elio is looking more and more tenuous as a product and a company. I'll believe it when I can walk onto a lot and buy one.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 5 Months Ago
      I dunno, i haven't done the math, but just looking at some numbers... i'd think that the Prius C would take the cake.
      jphyundai
      • 5 Months Ago
      2013 Tesla Model S: Stuck on the Freeway.........Where is the NHTSA when you really need them. Not to mention the fires associated with pierced batteries. When the "greenie" halo wears off, this car will be worthless and will become extinct.
        bluepongo1
        • 5 Months Ago
        @jphyundai
        http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/edmunds.com ... Look at: What sites are related to edmunds.com
        bluepongo1
        • 5 Months Ago
        @jphyundai
        http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/edmunds.com ... Look at: What sites are related to edmunds.com
        Grendal
        • 5 Months Ago
        @jphyundai
        You should go back to school and really learn something. Your current reasoning skills are broken and flawed. The NHTSA rightfully said the car performed very well under the circumstances. Fires are a natural consequence of an accident. The fact that the car warned the drivers and allowed them to leave the car unhurt is part of the reason why. Now go and get a refund on your education and try and do better. The brain is a terrible thing to waste.
          bluepongo1
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Grendal
          @ Grendal LOL !!! look at his name @ jphyundai Desperate dealer / fuel cell advocate. BTW I went to the original hit-piece edmunds.com wrote and got dealer spam in my e-mail. It's only a matter of time before these frauds at edmunds get called on " Brodering ".
      Grendal
      • 5 Months Ago
      A little late to the game. Everyone else has already said it's the best "green" car. Except for "Green Car of the Year" which said it was a different car. But that is because that award is given out by a Dealership Association who, as we all know, doesn't like Tesla very much.
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Grendal
        Grendal, you're simply making that up. Green Car Journal awards the Green Car of the Year. Dealership associations have nothing to do with determining finalists or the winner. They are not on the Green Car of the Year jury.
          Grendal
          • 5 Months Ago
          Okay then. Why hasn't the Tesla Model S won GCOTY? Ever? Or for that matter, why hasn't the Nissan Leaf? Or any other electric car? They aren't even included in the finalists. Since that is completely absurd, then the only answer can be politics. The winner for 2013 instead of the Tesla Model S was Ford Fusion Eco-Boost line. A car that burns gasoline. Slightly better gas mileage than the old model. How is that justified? Do you really want to discuss Green cred here at AutoBlogGreen? With people who know what they are talking about?
      • 5 Months Ago
      I finnaly took the time to check out Tesla products online and WOW... I'm impressed... The utility is what sells me with all of the out of the box thinking that really brings value... I believe I just may put a deposit down on a Tesla by Christmas.
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