Mitsubishi's electric car, i-MIEV, is this year's greenest car, announced the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), which has been rating cars for 14 years.
It's greener than Nissan's LEAF - which came in second - the other electric vehicle on the road today.
i-MIEV makes its debut in the US market this year. It scored 58, the highest Green Score awarded since the rankings began in 1998. With a combined city and highway fuel economy of 112 miles per gallon equivalent, the i-MIEV outpaces every vehicle sold in US.
"Even taking into account the emissions generated from the electricity used to power the i-MIEV, it still handily outscores other vehicles on the market today," says ACEEE lead vehicle analyst Shruti Vaidyanathan.
The Honda Civic Natural Gas, which previously held the top spot for eight years, tied with the Nissan Leaf. Rounding out the top six are the Toyota Prius, the Honda Insight, and the Smart ForTwo.
Although hybrids account for half the "Greenest" vehicles this year, several highly efficient conventional gas vehicles also made the top 12.
We wonder why Honda's natural gas car gets such high ratings. Eight years ago, no one had heard of fracking, but now it's very deleterious environmental and health profile is well known.
Vehicles are analyzed on the basis of a "Green Score," a singular measure that incorporates unhealthy tailpipe emissions, fuel consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
This year, the team also examined emissions from the manufacturing process, changes reflecting current natural gas extraction practices (fracking), and consideration of electricity sources that power electric cars.
ACEEE also produces the "Meanest" list - the dirtiest vehicles. Usually European sports cars are the highest emitters but this year, the top spots were reserved for even dirtier ones: Chevy G3500 Express and GMC G3500 Savana cargo vans, followed by the Ford E-350 Wagon and the Bugatti Veyron sports car.
In addition to highlighting the year's "Greenest," "Meanest," "Greener Choices," and best-in-class lists, the greenercars.org website features informational write-ups on model year 2012 highlights, a consumer primer on vehicles and the environment, and advice on how to buy green when shopping for a new car or truck. The guide covers, cars, SUVs and trucks.
This will be a big year for EVs and plug-ins - 11 automakers are launching 13 new vehicles that range from tiny urban runabouts to sports cars and even station wagons.
Among them are the Ford Focus EV; Toyota's Prius Plug-in and RAV4 EV; Volvo's V70 station wagon; Honda's Fit EV and Daimler's Smart EV.