Which electric car is best for the environment and your budget? – NBC Chicago

As gasoline prices reach a national average of $4.30 per gallon, consumers are beginning to seek out environmentally friendly vehicles as an alternative to gas-powered vehicles.

While Tesla is best known for its electric vehicles and high-end technology, it’s another company that tops the rankings for green scores from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, or ACEEE.

“The green score is our attempt to estimate the environmental impact of vehicles that are on the market in a given year,” said Shruti Vaidyanathan, transportation program manager for ACEEE.

Since the 1990s, ACEEE’s GreenerCars verified the efficiency of the vehicles and even different configurations of the same model. Green scores are calculated based on official emissions and fuel economy tests, as well as other specifications provided by car manufacturers.

Green vehicles, which range from electric vehicles to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, come in many forms. There are also flexible fuel vehicles, fuel cell vehicles, natural gas vehicles and gasoline hybrids.

Which electric cars are best for the environment?

In an NBC analysis of the ACEEE GreenerCars 2022 dataPolestar, a Swedish car brand affiliated with Volvo, had the highest green score on average at 59 with Tesla in second place at 53.75.

Which car manufacturer is the most environmentally friendly?

Polestar had the highest green score on average at 59 with Tesla second at 53.75. Bugatti finished last with an 18.33. Sports car manufacturers tend to have the lowest green scores.

At the other end of the scale, sports cars from brands like Bugatti, Lamborghini and Ferrari tend to have the lowest green scores on average and Vaidyanathan said their tendency for low fuel efficiency is a major factor in their ranking.

“These vehicles are not designed to be efficient,” Vaidyanathan said. “They’re made for horsepower more than anything else, so they have very low gas efficiency – sometimes on the order of five or six miles per gallon.”

Electric vehicles can both offset the cost of gasoline and reduce your carbon footprint by emitting fewer emissions than the typical fossil-fuel car for every mile driven, meaning fewer chemicals are released into the environment. atmosphere.

When it comes to debating the most environmentally friendly green vehicle, many factors come into play. Although green vehicles aim to solve many climate-related problems, there are still many criticisms regarding the amount of pollution released into air, as well as battery chemicals needed for green vehicles which, if not recycled or manufactured efficiently, can enter the soil and contaminate the environment.

Some automakers have effectively combated these concerns, while others remain few and far behind. And lately, with the shortage and high demand for green vehicles, prices are also starting to climb rapidly.

However, the top-selling car brands do not exactly line up with the highest green scores. Toyota topped US sales in 2021 with nearly 2 million cars sold, but the brand averaged a green score of 46.47.

Of the top five car sellers, only Honda is in the top five in terms of green scores with an average of 51.45 and 1.3 million US cars sold. The data does not include sales data from Polestar, but its owner Volvo was not in the top 20 sales.

Are consumers buying cars from eco-friendly brands?

As electric vehicles are gaining popularity around the world. The United States is still a little behind the curve, with electric vehicles accounting for 4% of new cars sold nationally. Only Honda ranks in the top five for car sales and average green score.

Average green score against car sales in 2021

Although most people don’t buy cars from the most environmentally friendly car brands, electric vehicles have grown in popularity in recent years.

Some 6.5 million electric vehicles were sold globally last year, around 9% of car sales according to CNBC. Of these sales, 535,000 were made in the United States, or 4% of new cars sold nationally. The majority of them came from Tesla.

As financial incentives and infrastructure for electric vehicles improve, experts say we can expect to see more green cars on the road.

Already in California, a state with some of the best incentives for electric vehicles in the country, there are more than 400,000 registered electric vehicles according to the US Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center.

The most incentivizing states have the most electric vehicles

More than 400,000 electric vehicles are registered in California alone, a state offering some of the best financial incentives and electric vehicle infrastructure in the country. Car buyers from other states like Florida, Texas and Washington also account for a large share of the country’s electric vehicles.

Electric vehicle registrations per 100,000 people

In addition to incentives, Vaidyanathan says California has made electric vehicles the core of its approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The state has created several policies in support of green vehicles, such as single tailpipe emission standards and zero-emission vehicle targets.

But there are still problems when it comes to accessing the benefits of green cars. Vaidyanathan says environmentally friendly transport policies should be designed fairly to help those who need it most.

Communities of color, for example, tend to live closer to major highways and ports while having less access to low-carbon transportation.

“Our transportation system has had a disproportionate negative impact on low-income communities and communities of color,” she said. “They bear a disproportionate burden of pollution that comes from the transport sector.”

State-level policies can do much to correct these inequalities by introducing incentives to make electric vehicles a more affordable and feasible choice for everyone.

States like New York and California have good financial incentives for owners of electric vehicles like the Clean Vehicle Rebate Projectwhich offers up to $2,000 for the purchase or lease of battery electric vehicles and $1,000 for the purchase or lease of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

Due to the many caveats about reducing your carbon footprint with green vehicles, the government aims to achieve this by offering various incentives, such as federal and state tax credits that depend on the type of car owned, as well as of State. resided in.

Other non-financial incentives offered to owners of electric vehicles include access to exclusive high-occupancy vehicle lanes on highways and obtaining preferred parking in certain cities.

Which eco-friendly vehicle is the most affordable?

When thinking of electric vehicles, some may think of Tesla’s expensive cars, but Vaidyanathan says the high price has more to do with the company’s position as a luxury brand.

While Tesla accounts for the majority of electric vehicle sales and offers rebates in some states, there are other more affordable cars consumers can choose from, such as the Nissan Leaf, Hyundai Kona Electric, and Chevrolet Bolt EV/ EUV.

“These vehicles are not advertised as luxury vehicles,” she said. “They are meant to be vehicles that are alternatives for people who drive gas-powered versions of these vehicles and would like to invest in a more environmentally friendly car.”

Electric vehicle owners can also make big savings by skipping the gas pump and soaring gas prices.

If electricity costs $0.13 per kilowatt-hour, recharging an electric vehicle with a 200-mile range with a fully discharged battery will cost around $9 to reach a full charge. according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center.

Here is a list of the most affordable and environmentally friendly green vehicles ranked according to Edmunds.

Electric car

  • 2022 Nissan Leaf – starting price $27,400, range 149 miles
  • 2022 Mini Cooper SE – $29,900 starting price, 114 mile range
  • 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV – $31,000 starting price, 259 mile range
  • 2022 Mazda MX-30 – starting price $33,470, 100 mile range
  • 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric – $34,000 starting price, 258-mile range
  • 2022 Kia EV6 – starting price of $40,900, range of 232 miles
  • 2022 Volkswagen ID.4 – starting price of $41,995, range of 280 miles

Luxury electric cars

  • 2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E – starting price $42,895, range 247 miles
  • 2022 Polestar 2 – $45,900 starting price, 270 mile range
  • 2022 Tesla Model 3 – $46,990 starting price, 272 mile range

Plug-in hybrids

  • 2022 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid – $26,800 starting price, 29-mile range, 53 mpg
  • 2022 Toyota Prius Prime – starting price of $28,220, 25-mile range, 54 mpg
  • 2022 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid – $29,590 starting price, 26-mile range, 46 mpg
  • 2022 Ford Escape plug-in hybrid – starting price of $33,075, 37-mile range, 40 mpg
  • 2022 Hyundai Tucson Plug-In Hybrid – $34,900 starting price, 33-mile range, 35 mpg

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