The Most Eco-Friendly Cars 2015-2019

Eco-friendly doesn’t mean only using less gas and driving an electric or hybrid vehicle. After all, batteries can be disastrous for the environment. In addition, manufacturing cars leaves a large footprint, too. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has been testing vehicles for their eco-friendliness since 2007. Here you’ll find the top five vehicles for the last five years.

Evaluating How Eco-Friendly a Car Is

The ACEEE has developed an evaluation process that allows for comparison. Although the organization changed some of their evaluation methods for model year 2019, they have remained consistent otherwise.

In general, the ACEEE evaluates these criteria:

  • test results for fuel economy and emissions as reported to the US EPA and the California Air Resources Board
  • other specifications reported by manufacturers
  • pollution estimates from the manufacturing process, production and distribution of fuel, and vehicle tailpipes
  • air pollution
  • greenhouse gases

The complete evaluation of each vehicle ends in a score out of 100: 0 meaning abominable for the environment, and 100 being incredible.

Best green cars 2019

The top five vehicles with model year 2019 received ratings between 64 and 67. One vehicle is still gas-powered. This proves that going electric doesn’t automatically make your vehicle environmentally friendly.

Best eco-friendly cars: 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Electric
Best eco-friendly cars: 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Electric
  1. Hyndai Ioniq Electric
  2. Hyundai Ioniq Blue
  3. BMW i3
  4. Honda Clarity Electric
  5. BMW I3s

Top eco-friendly cars 2018

The top six eco-friendly models for model year 2018 received a score between 66 and 70 (two tied for 66).

Best green cars 2018: Kia Soul Electric
Best green cars 2018: Kia Soul Electric
  1. Hyundai Ioniq Electric
  2. Mercedes-Benz Smart Fortwo Electric Drive Coupe
  3. BMW i3 BEV (94 Ah)
  4. Tesla Model 3 Long Range
  5. Kia Soul Electric
  6. Chevrolet Bolt EV

Best green cars 2017 & 2016

The top five vehicles for these two years scored between 60 and 64. The results were identical in both years.

Top eco-friendly cars 2016-2017: BMW-I3
Top eco-friendly cars 2016-2017: BMW I3
  1. Hyundai loniq Electric
  2. BMW i3 (60AH)
  3. Toyota Prius ECO
  4. Fiat 500E
  5. Nissan Leaf

Eco-friendly cars 2015

The top cars came in between 57 to 61. If you look at the whole list, you’ll notice a lot of gas-powered vehicles on it still. The number of gas-powered vehicles that made it to the ACEEE’s greenest cars list dropped dramatically in 2016.

Best green cars 2015: Toyota Prius C
Best green cars 2015: Toyota Prius C
  1. Smart Fortwo Electric Drive Convertible / Coupe
  2. Chevrolet Spark EV
  3. Fiat 500E
  4. Toyota Prius C (1.5L)
  5. Nissan Leaf

Environmental Cars: Not Always Battery-Powered

At least not yet. If you’re in the market for a used car, peruse the historical data for the ACEEE’s ratings. You’ll be able to research eco-friendly vehicles that still fit your budget and help you play your part in putting the environment back on track.

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