Released annually by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the GreenerCars ratings for 2021 are now available. And it probably won’t surprise you to learn that the highest-ranking (“greenest”) vehicle is electric and the lowest-ranking (“meanest”) vehicle is a supercharged, gas-powered pickup.
ACEEE evaluated more than 1,000 models, including vehicles fueled entirely by gasoline or diesel, plug-in hybrids that run on both batteries and gasoline, and all-electrics vehicles powered solely by batteries or hydrogen fuel cells. Each vehicle received a Green Score based on ACEEE’s environmental damage index (EDX), which reflects the cost to human health from air pollution associated with vehicle manufacturing and disposal, the production and distribution of fuel or electricity, and vehicle tailpipes.
Read on to see which are the “greenest” and which are the “meanest” cars on the market this year, plus the “greener” car list for those who aren’t ready to switch to electric.
Greenest Cars of 2021
GreenerCars.org’s 2021 Greenest List features the most environmentally friendly cars now available. No purely gas-powered cars made the list, but a few hybrids did, revealing that even a small degree of electrification can significantly improve fuel economy.
|Greenest||Power Train||EDX||Green Score|
|1. Hyundai Ioniq Electric||EV||0.60||70|
|2. Mini Cooper SE Hardtop 2 Door||EV||0.61||70|
|3. Toyota Prius Prime||Plug-In Hybrid||0.64||68|
|4. BMW i3s||EV||0.65||68|
|5. Nissan Leaf||EV||0.66||68|
|6. Honda Clarity||Plug-In Hybrid||0.70||66|
|7. Hyundai Kona Electric||EV||0.71||66|
|8. Kia Soul Electric||EV||0.72||65|
|9. Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus||EV||0.75||64|
|10. Toyota Rav4 Prime AWD||Plug-In Hybrid||0.76||64|
|11. Toyota Corolla Hybrid||Gasoline Hybrid||0.76||64|
|12. Honda Insight||Gasoline Hybrid||0.77||63|
Greener Car Choices for 2021
If you’re not ready to make the switch to a hybrid, GreenerCars.org’s Greener Choices list identifies practical choices for gasoline-powered vehicles. The list highlights top-scoring vehicles available in almost all major market segments. It includes conventional vehicles and traditional hybrids but not plug-in hybrids or pure battery EVs (due to the limited charging station infrastructure).
|Greener Choices||Power Train||Vehicle Class||EDX||Score|
|1. Toyota Camry Hybrid LE||Gasoline Hybrid||Midsize Car||0.80||63|
|2. Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Blue||Gasoline Hybrid||Large Car||0.80||62|
|3. Honda Insight Touring||Gasoline Hybrid||Compact Car||0.85||61|
|4. Toyota Rav4 Hybrid AWD||Gasoline Hybrid||Midsize SUV||0.96||57|
|5. Chevrolet Spark||Gasoline||Subcompact Car||1.03||55|
|6. Kia Sorento Hybrid||Gasoline Hybrid||Compact SUV||1.04||55|
|7. Kia Soul Eco dynamics||Gasoline||Small Wagon||1.09||53|
|8. Toyota Sienna||Gasoline Hybrid||Minivan||1.11||53|
|9. Toyota Highlander Hybrid AWD||Gasoline Hybrid||Large SUV||1.11||53|
|10. Mazda MX-5||Gasoline||Two-Seater||1.16||51|
|11. Mercedes-Benz GLA 250||Gasoline||Large Van||1.24||49|
|12. Volvo V90 FWD||Gasoline||Midsize Wagon||1.27||48|
Meanest Cars of 2021
GreenerCars.org’s Meanest List calls out the vehicles that are least friendly to the environment. Among the gasoline-powered large SUVs, pickup trucks, and European luxury cars on the list, the new RAM 1500 TRX 4×4 tops the “meanest” list with the lowest environmental rating.
|1. RAM 1500 TRX 4×4||2.80||22|
|2. Lexus LX 570||2.41||27|
|3. Mercedes-Benz AMG G 63||2.39||27|
|4. Toyota Land Cruiser Wagon 4WD||2.32||28|
|5. Toyota Sequoia 4WD||2.32||28|
|6. Toyota Tundra 4WD||2.28||29|
|7. Dodge Durango SRT||2.23||29|
|8. Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT 4×4||2.23||29|
|9. Land Rover Range Rover LWB SVA||2.23||29|
|10. BMW X5 M||2.23||29|
|11. BMW X6 M||2.20||30|
|12. Dodge Charger SRT Widebody||2.18||30|
Learn More on GreenerCars.org
Green Scores of ranked vehicles are available in the GreenerCars.org interactive database, dating back to model year 2000. The database lists each configuration’s fuel economy, health-related pollution impacts, and greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition to ACEEE’s 2021 Market Trends analysis, GreenerCars.org features shopping advice and a consumer primer on vehicles and the environment. You can also learn about efforts of U.S. states to increase EV adoption in the ACEEE’s State Transportation Electrification Scorecard, released in February 2021.
Vehicle ratings provided by ACEEE/GreenerCars.org