Want to buy greener? Use the ‘best’ list

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy recently released its “Greenest 2010 Vehicle” list. Small-car and SUV hybrids topped the energy-miser listing with green scores reflecting high fuel economies and low emissions scores.

Even so, several pickups and full-sized SUVs made ACEEE’s “greener choice” list.

The GMC Canyon and Chevy’s twin, the Colorado, both with the 2.9-liter, four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission, were included.

So was the Chevrolet Silverado hybrid, sporting a 6-liter, eight-cylinder engine and a continuously variable automatic transmission. The Chevy Tahoe C1500 hybrid and its GMC Yukon twin also made the list. Both are driven by the same engine and power train as the Silverado.

Emission standards and the sensors and catalytic converters sold on new vehicles vary from state to state.

According to the nonprofit group, residents of Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington live in “clean car states” that have implemented California’s stringent motor vehicle pollution control rules.

Key Points

• Best green vehicles list for 2010 includes pickups, SUVs.

• A Web site rates vehicle fuel efficiency and emissions.

• Compact pickups score green; Class B’s are rated “mean.”

Typically, automakers will certify a single vehicle to both a California standard and a Tier 2 standard. The cleanest gas-burners — those achieving the Phase II Super-Ultra-Low-Emission Vehicle (SULEV II) and Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (PZEV) levels — are often limited to sale in California and New England.

Ratings are online

Rather than reading through a lot of low-emissions technical jargon, the best way to check out all vehicle listings and engine specifications is to visit ACEEE’s Web site at www.greenercars.org.

The site also lists top-rated compact and standard pickup models, with separate categories for automatic and manual transmissions. In the compact category, the manual Ford Ranger and Toyota Tacoma are rated “superior” with their 2.3-liter and 2.7-liter four-cylinder engines, respectively.

That “go-to-town” truck may not pull all the loads on the farm. But if you want the power of a Class B vehicle, you have to give up some fuel efficiency. That’s why the Dodge Ram 2500 megacab, the Ford F-250, the Chevy Suburban K2500 and the GMC Yukon K2500 fall into ACEEE’s “meanest vehicle” category.

You don’t buy them for their gas mileage, though. The good news is they beat their meanest stablemates — the Lamborghini roadster, Ferraris, Bentleys and several Mercedeses— in gas mileage.


GREENER MACHINE: The Silverado hybrid made ACEEE’s “Best of 2010” list of greener vehicles.

This article published in the April, 2010 edition of WALLACES FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2010.