- For workers who must commute to the office, finding a reliable and eco-conscious mode of transportation can prove difficult.
- As gasoline becomes less popular due to its effect on the environment and climate change, hybrid and electric cars will become the cars of the future.
- Seven of the top 12 models on the 2021 cleanest cars list are full-electric vehicles (EVs) that produce zero tailpipe emissions.
For workers who must commute to the office, finding a reliable and eco-conscious mode of transportation can prove difficult.
Workers who live in cities that have a subway or train system are on the luckier end of the scale, but what about those who don’t have access to public transportation?
Having a car is sometimes an inescapable necessity. Although automobiles account for one-fifth of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, this doesn’t have to be the case in the future.
There are conventional gas or diesel-powered vehicles, plug-in hybrids that run on both batteries and gasoline, and full-electric models that come powered solely by batteries or hydrogen fuel cells.
As gasoline becomes less popular due to its effect on the environment and climate change, hybrid and electric cars will become the cars of the future.
According to the GreenerCars ratings issued by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), there are twelve electric and hybrid cars that are the best to commute in.
Each vehicle is given an overall Green Score that can be used to compare the relative environmental friendliness (or unfriendliness) from one model to another. Those are expressed on a 100-point scale, with higher numbers being better.
Seven of the top 12 models on the 2021 cleanest cars list are full-electric vehicles (EVs) that produce zero tailpipe emissions. The rest are either gas/electric-powered hybrids (HEVs), or plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) that emit far less C02 emissions than conventionally powered rides.
Here are the ACEEE’s 12 greenest vehicles for 2021:
- Hyundai Ioniq Electric EV; Green Score: 70
- MINI Cooper SE Hardtop EV; Green Score: 70
- Toyota Prius Prime PHEV; Green Score: 68
- BMW i3s EV; Green Score: 68
- Nissan Leaf EV; Green Score: 68
- Honda Clarity PHEV: Green Score: 66
- Hyundai Kona Electric EV: Green Score: 66
- Kia Soul Electric EV; Green Score: 65
- Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus EV; Green Score: 64
- Toyota RAV4 Prime PHEV; Green Score: 64
- Toyota Corolla Hybrid HEV; Green Score: 64
- Honda Insight HEV; Green Score: 63
“These results provide a glimpse into a promising future with more efficient and greener vehicle options, driven primarily by electric models,” Peter Huether, senior research analyst for transportation at ACEEE told Forbes.
“Consumers will benefit from the increasing number and variety of electric models, some of which offer affordable alternatives to gasoline cars.”
There are many benefits of owning an eco-friendly car
- It’s cheaper in the long run. As an example, the hybrid Prius 46, which contains a gas tank big enough to carry 11 gallons, allows you to drive nearly 600 miles before needing to refuel. The cost per mile is less than $.08 per mile. A study by Consumer Reports shows that fuel savings alone can be $4,700 or more over the first seven years when owning an eco-friendly car.
- Eco-friendly cars pollute less. These cars consume a minimum of natural resources by putting less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and using fewer fossil fuels.
- You can get a potential tax break. Purchasing a hybrid or electric car means you may be eligible for as much as $3,000 back when you file taxes. While not every eco-friendly vehicle is qualified for this kind of tax break, the majority are.
- Maintenance is cheaper. Far less is required to keep green cars in top working order. Based on manufacturer recommendations, routine EV maintenance costs about $949 total – or $330 less than gas-powered cars.
- Some insurers offer discounts to incentivize drivers to go green. Allstate, Farmers, 21st Century, The Hartford Group, Liberty Mutual, and Travelers are a few companies who have offered some type of incentive to decrease drivers’ carbon footprint. As more businesses trend toward social responsibility, these discounts may become more widely available.
The future of cars is green
European cities are way ahead in terms of getting eco-friendly cars on the road. Electric vehicles accounted for 4.2% of light vehicle sales in 2020. Norway, Iceland, and Sweden are leading the charge, with plug-in electric vehicles accounting for 74.8%, 45%, and 32.2% respectively in 2020.
Last year, Uber announced that 100% of rides will take place in electric vehicles by 2030 in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, and by 2040 for the rest of the world.
Volkswagen plans to launch roughly 70 pure electric models by 2030 and has already overtaken Tesla in electric vehicle sales in many European markets. General Motors has also said it hopes to sell only zero-emission cars by 2035.
Commuters will not have to feel as badly about their carbon footprint if they choose to drive eco-friendly cars, and this is being made easier by the eagerness of car companies to go green in the near future.
The benefits of hybrid and electric cars are wide ranging – from less atmospheric pollution to tax breaks. Workers can benefit greatly from commuting in green cars, and the environment will thank them for it.