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Electric Car Tops Greenest Vehicle List for the First Time in 12 Years

With the auto industry back on its feet and fuel economy standards shifting into high gear, automakers provided American consumers with a huge array of vehicles and technologies to choose from in 2012. At greenercars.org, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released its 14th annual comprehensive environmental rankings showing how these offerings stack up.

The “Greenest” list saw a considerable shake-up this year, with the Mitsubishi i-MIEV battery electric vehicle claiming the top spot from the Honda Civic Natural Gas, which had held on to first place for eight years in a row. Making its model year 2012 debut on the U.S. market, the i-MIEV earns a score of 58, the highest Green Score awarded since the rankings began in 1998. With a combined city and highway fuel economy of 112 miles per gallon equivalent, the i-MIEV outpaces all other vehicles currently sold in United States. “Even taking into account the emissions generated from the electricity used to power the i-MIEV, it still handily outscores other vehicles on the market today,” said ACEEE lead vehicle analyst Shruti Vaidyanathan.

The Honda Civic Natural Gas, despite its improved fuel economy this year, appears in second place, tied with the Nissan Leaf. Rounding out the top six are the Toyota Prius, the Honda Insight, and the Smart ForTwo. This year, hybrids dominate the “Greenest” list, occupying half of all spots. Highly efficient conventional gasoline vehicles also continue to have a presence on the “Greenest” list, claiming three of the top twelve spots.
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