After several years of all-electric cars dominating the annual Greenest vehicles list, 2020 brings a surprise – a resurgence of the hybrid, whether plug-in or gasoline only. With slightly higher scores, hybrids account for nine of the 12 greenest vehicles in the 23rd GreenerCars’ ratings, released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. These high-scoring hybrids include the Toyota Prius Prime, three others by Toyota, four by Hyundai-Kia, and one by Honda.
The auto industry, despite slowing sales, labor disputes, trade wars, and regulatory unrest, is producing more of the most technologically advanced and fuel efficient vehicles ever offered. This is great news for consumers, who continue to have plenty of options to buy a greener, more efficient vehicle.
While electric vehicles (EVs) get a lot of buzz, the top-scoring 2020 car reflects impressive improvements to the internal combustion engine that reduce tailpipe emissions and fuel consumption. Stronger tailpipe emission standards and lower emissions from the production and distribution of gasoline have also helped nudge hybrids to the top of the list.
“Some level of vehicle electrification is the clear path forward for both cars and light trucks, and for the foreseeable future, that will include everything from mild hybrids to all-electric vehicles,” said Eric Junga, senior transportation research analyst at ACEEE. “Gasoline hybrids are hitting seriously impressive fuel economy numbers and are available in nearly every vehicle category. And a hybrid full-size pickup may soon follow.”
The 2020 Greenest List features the most environmentally friendly cars now available. Each car is given a Green Score based on an environmental damage index (EDX), which reflects the cost to human health from air pollution associated with vehicle manufacturing, the production and distribution of fuel or electricity, and vehicle tailpipes.