Wednesday, July 15, 2015

What kind of car is the most green?

Most major automobile manufacturers are now selling more environmentally-friendly models. With all the different options and types it's easy to get confused about what's what and what is actually good for the environment and not just hype.

Here's a chart comparing and contrasting the various options people have (excluding the more expensive options like the Tesla Model S) when it comes to cost to drive and emissions:
How green vehicles match up.
The day where everyone drives an electric car is not coming up any time soon, but as you can see in the chart, even just switching to a more efficient gasoline vehicle can lead to significant emissions reductions and lower petroleum use.

Note: this only includes options sold by major auto companies, not the various post-conversion options available (like vegetable oil, etc.).

Battery electric
Pros: Tax subsidies, less carbon emissions
Cons: Range less than 100 miles, take hours to charge, generally more expensive than a similar gasoline vehicle

Pros: range of more than 500 miles (ideal for long highway commutes)
Cons: Limited vehicle options, not quite as efficient as hybrids

Compressed natural gas
Pros: None
Cons: Dead technology

Pros: Great for stop and go traffic, only generates 55% of the carbon dioxide of a conventional gasoline car
Cons: More expensive than regular cars,

Plug-in hybrid
Pros: Low carbon emissions
Cons: Not all are made equal, some have very low all-electric range, not ideal for longer trips

Pros: Less expensive
Cons: Produce a third more pollution per mile than hybrid

In addition to these options, manufacturers are also rolling out cars that run on hydrogen fuel cells (which are greener than gasoline, but less clean than battery-electric). Hyundai has begun leasing its Tucson model in certain areas in California (with Toyota and Honda having models due out soon), but it is still early on and there are very few areas that the car would be feasible everyday option in.

Hopefully that breakdown will help you make a smart decision about how you can lower your carbon emissions, and thus helping slow down climate change, while still finding a vehicle that still fits your everyday needs.

Don't forget to take our climate change survey:

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