With fuel prices on the sky-high again, car-owners around the world are turning to ‘green cars’ with high mileage to solve their commuting woes. Besides fuel efficiency, driving enjoyment, safety, techno-savvy features and comfort-level also factor in the decision-making process while buying a green car. The annual ranking for “Top 10 Green Cars” of 2011 by Kelly Blue Book (KBB) takes it all into account.
A green car, or an environmentally-friendly car, or an eco-friendly vehicle, is one that produces less harmful impact to the environment as compared to conventional internal combustion engine cars running on gasoline or diesel, or one that uses alternative fuels. These cars are considered sustainable mode of transport since they reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to energy independence by reducing oil imports.
The term ‘green car’ is loosely used for any car surpassing the Euro 6 norms. These could include hybrid electric cars, plug-in hybrid electric cars, battery electric cars, compressed-air cars, hydrogen and fuel-cell cars, neat ethanol cars, flexible-fuel cars, natural gas cars, clean diesel cars, and also those using blends of biodiesel and ethanol fuel or gasohol. Conventional motor vehicles with high fuel economy are also considered green vehicles since fuel economy is the most cost-effective way to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions in the transport sector.
How to evaluate benefits of a green car?
With green cars beginning to generate wide-spread interest, and to fill the dearth of information related to them, several automobile magazines, publications and environmental groups have started to publish annual rankings for green cars/vehicles, listing the top green car models with their pros and cons. These not only serve as a source of background information to those interested in opting for green models, they also spread awareness and appeal of eco-friendly cars, and encourage car manufacturers to come up with even better environment-friendly models.
Though various Green Car Rankings have been made available for last couple of years by several sources – like, Green Car Journal, Consumer Reports, What Car?, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Mother Earth News, Kelley Blue Book, and there are several green vehicle auto-shows held annually worldwide which announce top cars of the year; however, we have based this feature on the rankings provided by Kelley Blue Book, which published its latest green car rankings in last week of December 2011.
Kelley Blue Book is the United States’ largest automotive vehicle valuation company and is headquartered in Irvine, California. The company reports market value prices for new and used automobiles of all types. The criteria for Top 10 Green Cars ranked by Kelly Blue Book go beyond a vehicle’s fuel economy and carbon emissions; the safety ratings of the car, creature comforts, price tag and overall driving enjoyment are also important factors.
Top 10 Green Cars: Year 2011
- 2011 Nissan Leaf
- 2011 Chevy Volt
- 2011 Toyota Prius
- 2011 Lexus CT 200h
- 2011 Honda Insight
- 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid
- 2011 Volkswagen Golf TDI
- 2011 Hyundai Elantra
- 2012 Fiat 500
- 2012 Ford Focus