The greenest cars of 2024: Vehicles that use the least fuel and cost less to operate



All-electric vehicles may make headlines for environmental friendliness and fuel efficiency, but the “greenest” car in America in 2024 has a gasoline engine. According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s annual GreenerCars ratings of the most environmentally friendly cars, the latest Toyota Prius Prime SE plug-in hybrid tops the list of greenest cars, although it’s something of an anomaly, because battery-electric EVs follow it in spots two to five.

Of the top 10 vehicles in the ratings, six are electric and four are hybrids:

Rank Make & Model Powertrain Green
Score
MSRP Estimated Annual
Fuel Cost*
1 Toyota Prius Prime SE PHEV 71 $32,975 $529
2 Lexus RZ 300e EV 67 $55,150 $651
3 Mini Cooper SE EV 67 $30,900 $747
4 Nissan Leaf EV 66 $28,140 $741
5 Toyota bZ4X EV 66 $43,070 $689
6 Toyota RAV4 Prime PHEV 64 $43,690 $741
7 Hyundai Elantra Blue Gas Hybrid 64 $26,250 $864
8 Hyundai Kona Electric EV 63 $34,050 $695
9 Toyota Camry LE Gas Hybrid 63 $28,855 $907
10 Kia EV6 EV 63 $43,975 $689
11 Toyota Corolla Gas Hybrid 62 $23,500 $944
12 Hyundai Ioniq 5 EV 62 $41,650 $737

*ACEEE analysis using EIA data of annual cost—from gasoline, electricity, or a combination—of driving 15,000 miles

The ACEEE also compiled two other vehicle rankings: the so-called “Greener Choices” and the “Meanest List.” The Greener Choices list includes a variety of high-scoring conventional vehicles, and the Meanest List identifies the worst-performing mass-market models. Finishing first in the “greener” list — which the organization says is about cars “available nationwide with among the lowest environmental impacts” — is the Honda Accord Hybrid. As far as the “worst-performing mass market” vehicle, that dubious distinction goes to the $184,000 Mercedes-Benz AMG G63.

“It’s important for automakers to keep expanding affordable EV options rapidly so that the benefits of EVs are available to drivers across a wider spectrum of incomes as we transition away from cars that burn gasoline,” said Peter Huether, ACEEE’s senior transportation research associate and lead researcher for the GreenerCars rankings. “For drivers whose needs are not met by today’s charging infrastructure, many efficient and affordable hybrid options are available.”

Just over half the cars on the 2024 Greenest List start at under $35,000, including four EVs and three gas hybrids. This comes as average prices across all EVs dropped by 18 percent in 2023, driven by increased competition from traditional automakers, inventory and supply chain improvements, and lower lithium-ion battery costs.

 



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