The greenest cars of 2012 include several compact cars, at least one mid-size sedan and a handful of electric cars as well. This list includes 2012's most green cars as decided by the ACEEE (the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy). In 2012, the longtime list leader actually was dethroned for the first time in eight years, marking a major change. Which car ranked the best? Take a look at this list to find out!
What factors contribute to a vehicle's being dubbed one of the greenest cars of 2012? Several things. ACEEE looks at fuel efficiency, of course, but also the ways the vehicles are made. Manufacturing includes the kinds of materials used on each vehicle. Emissions are also key: The lower the car's pollution emissions, the higher the green score and the higher the overall ranking.
How do you measure fuel efficiency in a car that doesn't run on fuel? For electric cars, the ACEEE looks at the vehicle's miles per kilowatt-hour to determine a ranking. Similarly, for a natural gas car (the Honda Civic Natural Gas), the ACEEE determines MPG based on gas-equivalent miles per gallon. All of the vehicles that made the top 12 in 2012 have excellent fuel efficiency. For example, the last car on the list, the Toyota Yaris, gets an estimated 30 MPG city and 38 MPG highway -- definitely a good thing for anyone looking to reduce a carbon footprint (and ultimately save a ton of gas money at the same time).
Are you a green car driver? If so, did your vehicle make this list of the greenest cars of 2012? For more great vehicle info, check out this list of the best resale value cars of 2012