Gas-Powered SUV Cracks 'Greenest Vehicles of 2005' List

Gas-Powered SUV Cracks 'Greenest Vehicles of 2005' List

Amid excitement over new advanced technology vehicles entering the market and worries about sustained high gas prices, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy has announced this year's "greenest" and "meanest" vehicles, along with the environmental scorings of all model year 2005 cars and passenger trucks. The vehicle scores are part of ACEEE's Green Book Online, the eighth annual edition of ACEEE's environmental guide to cars and trucks.

Honda Model, Ford Hybrid SUV Take Limelight Among Greenest

Retaining the distinction as the greenest vehicle of the year is Honda's natural gas-powered Civic GX. The hybrid-electric Honda Insight follows closely behind, with the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid and Toyota Corolla rounding out the top five. The most notable newcomer to this year's list is the Ford Escape Hybrid -- marking the first time ever a gasoline-powered SUV has achieved a spot among the greenest vehicles of the year. (The battery-electric Toyota RAV4 EV and Honda EV Plus previously held spots on the list until their discontinuation). Other manufacturers in the top twelve include Nissan, Pontiac, and Mazda.

"For years, we've been advising buyers that greener models are available to them no matter what type of vehicle they're shopping for. Today, with a bona fide gas-powered SUV on our Greenest Vehicles list, this advice rings truer than ever," noted author and principal vehicle analyst James Kliesch, a research associate at ACEEE.

Widely acknowledged as the preeminent buyer's guide to environmentally preferable passenger cars, trucks, and SUVs, ACEEE's Green Book Online provides the facts necessary to compare the new 2005 models. Vehicles are analyzed on the basis of a "Green Score," a singular measure that incorporates unhealthy tailpipe emissions, fuel consumption, and the emissions of gases that cause global warming. Using its "Green Score" ranking system, ACEEE's Green Book Online reveals the year's "greenest" and "meanest" models: the 12 least polluting, most efficient vehicles; and the 12 worst.

Ford Moves Up in Green Vehicle World

The Web site also identifies top widely available models in each vehicle class. This "Greener Choices" list includes larger vehicles, such as the Ford Freestyle SUV, Honda Odyssey minivan, and Toyota Tundra pickup. Passenger cars such as the Chevrolet Malibu Maxx and Ford Focus Wagon also top their respective classes. As demonstrated in the list, consumers can make "greener choices," whether they need a sedan, minivan, pickup truck, or SUV.

"Ford has a lot to be proud of this year," said Therese Langer, ACEEE's Transportation Program Director. "Not only do the Escape Hybrid, Focus Sedan and Focus Wagon make this year's Greenest Vehicles list, but several Fords are best-in-class performers as well."

Meanest Vehicles Stay Mean

The 2005 "Meanest Vehicles" list, while once again dominated by large SUVs, is topped by the 8.3-liter, 500-horsepower Dodge Ram SRT10 pickup truck. Filling out the "bottom 5" are the Ford Excursion, Hummer H2, Mercedes-Benz G55 AMG and Lamborghini Murcielago. "Green vehicles today have high fuel economy and low tailpipe emissions, and the models on this list have neither," commented Kliesch. Other prominent models on this list include the GMC Yukon XL K2500, Chevrolet Suburban K2500, Land Rover Range Rover, and Dodge Ram 1500 Pickup.

What’s At Stake

"This year's Green Book shows more clearly than ever how the choices we make in buying cars and trucks determine our reliance on Middle East oil and our planet's climatic future," noted Bill Prindle, ACEEE's policy director. "If new car and light truck buyers chose the most efficient vehicles in each size class, we would slash the 2005 fleet's gasoline use by 27%, reducing gasoline purchases by $6.1 billion and saving the average buyer $360 a year. Furthermore, we would cut greenhouse gas emissions accordingly. Even omitting hybrid vehicles, those numbers still add up to 19%, $4.1 billion, and $245 a year, respectively."

In addition to highlighting the year's "Greenest," "Meanest," "Greener Choices," and best-in-class lists, contains informational write-ups on model year 2005 highlights, a consumer primer on vehicles and the environment, and advice on how to buy green when shopping for a new car or truck.