The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, a non-profit group sponsored by foundations, electric utilities and government agencies, released its list of the Greenest Vehicles, and the Honda Civic GX, a perennial favorite, continued to come out on top for the 8th consecutive year.
In second place was the all-electric Nissan Leaf, while the much maligned Smart ForTwo came third. The Chevrolet Volt was way down the list at number 13. While this is surprising at first glance, the Council takes other factors into account beyond the usual tailpipe emissions and fuel economy. How the electricity is generated, for example, is taken into consideration since coal-fired energy is substantially dirtier than hydroelectric power.
"We consider not just what emissions are coming out of the tailpipe while the vehicle is running," said Therese Langer, the group's transportation director, in an interview with the New York Times. "The E.P.A. would consider the Leaf a zero-emissions vehicle because electric vehicles have zero tailpipe emissions," she said. Disposal of the lithium ion batteries is also taken into account due to its toxic nature.
More: Honda Civic Defeats Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt For "Greenest Vehicle" Title