Going Green Doesn't Always Mean Plugging In When It Comes To Cars

You don’t have to buy a car that plugs into an outlet to be green or run on batteries, says a new scorecard of the most eco-friendly vehicles on the road.

The American Council for an Engery-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released a list of its picks, including the natural gas Honda Civic GX at the top, with 54 points, for its eighth year, reports USA Today.

The rest of the well-rated cars include a mix of gas-powered, hybrid and electric cars. Top scorers include hybrids like the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight, as well as gas-powered vehicles like the Hyundai Elantra and the Mini Cooper. The new electric Chevy Volt did well too, with its backup gas engine.

Ratings aren’t just about tailpipe emissions — electric cars have none — they’re also based on also fuel consumption, emissions that cause global warming and emissions associated with battery manufacture and disposal.

“Vehicles running on electricity emit nothing from the tailpipe, but their ‘upstream’ emissions can be substantial, depending on where they’re charged. As U.S. power generation becomes cleaner, these vehicles’ scores will rise,” said Therese Langer, ACEEE’s transportation director.

Check out the full results, including emissions info and miles per gallon tallies at greencars.org.

Greenest cars? Not all are electric or hybrids [USA Today]