Fuel-efficient cars generally pollute less than cars that burn more gas. But an automobile’s environmental impact isn’t limited to its tailpipe emissions. How clean, for example, is the power source that generates the electricity for your Nissan Leaf? Here are the 11 “greenest” 2015 cars according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. The Green Score is based on mileage and tailpipe emissions but also emissions estimates for the vehicle’s manufacturing process, disposal impact, and (where applicable) natural-gas extraction practices and the energy sources that generate power for electric cars. Base prices include destination charges, which average around $850. And if you’re aiming for an Earth-friendly SUV, check out 11 Greenest Crossover SUVs for 2015.
1. Smart ForTwo Electric Drive – Small Size, Small Impact
Green Score: 59
Fuel economy rating (EPA city/highway combined): 107 mpg-equivalent
Base price range: $25,750-$28,750
Being the smallest EVs on the road, the tiny two-seat Smart ForTwo Electric Drive coupe and convertible will at least be responsible for leaving relatively little behind in terms of landfill after they’ve been salvaged. Both get the electric equivalent of a stellar 107 mpg, though their range is limited to a maximum 68 miles on a charge. Still, even with an electric motor effectively producing a mere 74 horsepower, the EVs feel peppier than the languid gasoline-powered ForTwo models. What’s more, a single-gear transmission does away with the annoying “hunt-and-shift” tendencies that plague the standard models’ clumsy automatic. Otherwise, as with the conventional versions, they’re sufficiently roomy inside for both passengers, with only shoulder room feeling modestly cramped, though cargo room is negligible. The ForTwo Electric Drive can be parked in even the smallest parking spaces, which makes it a good choice for city dwellers who park in garages with AC power or have access to charging stations at work. Smart will even lease the battery separately from the car to lower the payments on an Electric Drive. Unfortunately, it’s only available via Smart dealerships in California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.