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Five affordable green cars for 2014 |

Aside from environmental concerns, saving money is one of the chief attractions of green cars. That means for some buyers, spending less at the dealership as well as avoiding the gas pump.

Most green cars carry a premium for their alternative powertrains, but there are several that are still relatively affordable. Here are two hybrids, two electric cars, a plug-in hybrid, and one diesel that are in dealerships now, and should help save a different kind of green.

All base prices listed here include destination, but exclude any Federal,state, or local incentives that might apply to an individual model.

Also, those looking to save even more money may want to consider a small, fuel-efficient conventional model like the 2015 Honda Fit. Cars like this often start out cheaper than anything with an electric motor and can still return impressive fuel economy in everyday driving.

Click on the image of each car for all the specs and prices

Chevrolet Spark EV

Based on Chevy’s entry-level hatchback, the Spark EV starts at $27,495, but is only available in California and Oregon.

It’s electric motor produces 140hp and a stump-pulling 400lb ft of torque, and is powered by a 21kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The EPA rates at the Spark EV at 119 MPGe combined with 82 miles of range.

A larger cabin also makes the Spark a bit more practical than that other bargain-basement electric car, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

Charging takes “less than 7 hours” from a 240-volt Level 2 source. The Spark EV can also be equipped for DC fast charging, which can provide an 80 percent charge in 20 minutes. Stations that use the Spark’s CCS DC-charging standard may be hard to find for the time being, though.

Honda Civic Hybrid

Refreshed for the 2014 model year, the Civic Hybrid starts at $25,425 and is rated at 45mpg combined (44mpg city, 47mpg highway) by the EPA.

The powertrain consists of a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and continuously-variable transmission (CVT) working with a single electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack. The gasoline engine produces 90hp and 127lb-ft of torque, while the electric motor adds 23hp and 78lb-ft.

Other than that, the Civic Hybrid is essentially identical to its siblings, making it a good choice for buyers who want a green powertrain, but still want a “normal” car.

Nissan LEAF

The Nissan LEAF helped kick off the modern electric car era and, thanks to some price cutting, it’s now among the least expensive choices in the segment.

The Leaf starts at $29,830 and is EPA-rated at 114mpge combined with 84 miles of range. Propulsion comes from a 24kWh lithium-ion battery pack and an electric motor is good for 107hp and 187lb-ft of torque.

Charging from a 240-volt Level 2 source takes around eight hours with the standard 3.6-kilowatt onboard charger, or five hours with the 6.6kW charger available in upper trim levels.

The LEAF is also equipped for DC fast charging under the CHAdeMO standard. With that system, an 80 percent charge takes 30 minutes.



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