There’s been plenty of talk about the vast array of environmentally friendly, fuel-saving green cars being produced by almost every manufacturer. Consumers can now choose from an amazing number of hybrids and electrics as well as newer, greener gas-powered vehicles. Many more new car buyers are looking in that direction rather than at the choices that are available on the other side of the tracks, so to speak.
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has just released its annual eco-“mean” list (who knew there was such a thing?) in Washington, D.C. This list includes all the most globally-unfriendly models that are available for sale in the United States.
So who are the “baddest” of the bad boys? One example is the enormous Ram 2500 full-size pickup truck; another example is the incredibly costly (and incredibly speedy) Bugatti Veyron. These two are among the models who are on the opposite end of the spectrum from the ACEEE’s “good” list, which is dominated by Japanese auto makers. Honda and Toyota made seven out of the 12 most environmentally friendly models. The “dirty dozen” for 2014, however, is dominated by domestic and European automakers.
What makes the dirty cars so dirty? For comparison, consider the ACEEE’s pick for greenest car of 2014 – the little two-seater Smart ForTwo Electric Drive, which earned a “green score” of 59. This is the highest score ever earned by any model. The big Ram 2500 earned only a score of 18.
Other rock-bottom scoring vehicles included the most luxurious new cars including the Bentley Mulsanne, Rolls-Royce Phantom and the Lamborghini Aventador. Among the lowest scoring were some more mainstream brands such as Ford’s E-150 Wagon, full-size Lincoln Navigator SUV and Cadillac Escalade ESV luxury SUV.
Factoring into the ACEEE’s Green score is fuel economy and tail-pipe emissions. Emissions can carry airborne pollutants that cause disease and environmental damage like smog. Chemicals included in such emissions include hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, particulate matter and greenhouse gasses that contribute to climate change, such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane and others. Also considered by the ACEEE are emission estimates for the actual manufacturing of the vehicle as well as disposal impact on the environment.