Go Green on Four Wheels: Guide to Eco-Friendly Cars
Thinking about purchasing a new car and want to make sure it is economical and eco-friendly then I suggest you keep on reading. There are many options to consider; just make sure you are making the smartest choose possible.
At first thought, an all-electric vehicle might seem like the most environmentally-friendly choice between hybrid or all-electric cars. No burning gasoline, no fuel emissions, right? But it’s a little more complicated than simply not using fossil fuel and eliminating emissions. The environmental impact of electric vehicles depends on where the power they run on comes from and the impact on the environment of the manufacturing process.
The better consideration is the total “lifecycle” carbon emissions in the first 50,000 miles of operation. To find out whether the car you’re considering is as climate-friendly as you though you have to consider:
- Where you live
- How far you commute
- The type of car you want to drive.
Best Vehicles for Top Mileage
Before you start looking for the best deal on environmentally-conscious rides with help from online auto search tools, think about why and how you want to green your ride. Every vehicle has an impact on the environment, because the manufacturing process uses resources and creates emissions that are an environmental factor. But if your driving and car-ownership goal is to simply own a vehicle with very high mpg’s, whether it’s an all-electric or hybrid you want, consider these top picks from industry sources.
Toyota Prius C – mileage: 53/46
Ford-C Max Hybrid – mileage: 47/47
Honda Civic Hybrid – mileage: 44/44
BMWi3 – mileage: 138/111
Chevy Cruze Diesel – mileage: 27/46
2014 Chevy Spark EV – mileage: 128/109
Smart for Two Electric Drive – mileage: 122/93
Toyota Prius C – mileage: 53/46
Nissan Leaf – mileage: 126/101
When Electric Isn’t the Greenest
The real environmental impact of all-electric and hybrid vehicle ownership and operation depends on the electric power generation source in the area of operation and the emissions associated with the manufacture of the vehicle. If you buy and drive an all-electric vehicle in a dirty energy state, a state that relies on coal, nonrewable energy, and little to no nuclear power, the eco-friendly benefits are significantly reduced if not completely negated. These states include Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, and Ohio. It’s surprisingly worse for the climate to drive an all-electric vehicle in one of those states than a conventional gasoline-burning vehicle or a hybrid.
On the other hand, all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids have a lesser impact on the environment in states that have green electrical grids, from hydro, nuclear, and wind power without carbon emissions, and conventional hybrids are better for the environment in states where coal and natural gas are the primary sources of electricity, reports EarthTechling. Before you make a decision – compare and contrast each state’s top 10 eco-friendly automobiles with the interactive map feature provided by Climate Central to see how your state measures up.
GreenCarReports tosses in another caveat to consider when trying to decide on the best eco-friendly vehicle to buy—vehicles priced over $60,000 are not counted, and studies are concentrated on mass-market vehicles because ultra-luxury vehicles sales numbers aren’t big enough to make a measurable difference on the environment.
The Real Scoop on Electric Emissions
The real impact on the environment of any green vehicle has to include emissions generated in manufacture and emissions from power sources used, and these differ in different locations across the globe. The report “Shades of Green: Electric Cars’ Carbon Emissions Around the Globe” breaks this down for real comparisons of just how green electric cars are, based on where in the world they are manufactured and operated. In areas with heavy coal-generated electricity like India, China, South Africa, and Australia, the emissions rates from manufacturing and operation are right up there with gasoline vehicles. They are lower for places with low-carbon supplies including Norway, France, Brazil, and Switzerland.
Living green is essential in all aspects of our lives, even our automobiles. Before you purchase a vehicle please do your homework and make sure you are making the greenest choice possible because our planet’s and our children’s future could be riding on what we decide to ride in.