Released annually by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the GreenerCars ratings for 2022 are now available. While it might surprise you to learn that the highest-ranking (“greenest”) vehicle this year is a plug-in hybrid instead of an all-electric car, it’s probably no surprise that the lowest-ranking (“meanest”) vehicle is a full-size, gas-powered SUV.
ACEEE evaluated more than 1,000 models, including vehicles fueled entirely by gasoline or diesel (including non-plug-in hybrids), plug-in hybrids, and all-electric vehicles. Each vehicle received a Green Score based on ACEEE’s environmental damage index (EDX), which reflects the total environmental harm caused by the vehicle through its lifecycle.
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 all-electric.
Greenest Cars of 2022
The latest Greenest List features the most environmentally friendly cars available for the 2022 model year. No purely gas-powered cars made the list, but this year’s list has more hybrids than last year’s ratings. The rise in hybrids is in part due to a shift toward larger and heavier electric vehicles (including luxury models, SUVs, and pickups) that are less environmentally friendly. It’s also due to scoring methodology updates to consider the emissions from producing a vehicle’s materials. This includes emissions associated with mining lithium, a crucial mineral in EV batteries.
Greener Car Choices for 2022
The Greener Choices list identifies practical options for widely available automatic transmission vehicles. The 2022 list includes top-scoring gasoline-powered vehicles and traditional hybrids but excludes plug-in hybrids and all-electric or pure battery EVs (due to the limited availability of charging stations).
Meanest Cars of 2021
GreenerCars.org’s Meanest List calls out the vehicles that are most harmful to the environment. As usual, the list is made up of gasoline-powered large SUVs, pickup trucks, and European luxury cars on the list. Like last year, the RAM 1500 TRX 4×4 tops the “meanest” list again in 2022 with the lowest environmental rating.
Learn More on GreenerCars.org
Find past years’ GreenerCars Ratings, dating back to the 2000 model year, in the GreenerCars.org interactive database. The database lists each configuration’s emission standards, fuel economy, green score, and other details.
In addition to ACEEE’s 2022 Market Trends analysis, GreenerCars.org features shopping advice and a consumer primer on vehicles and the environment. You can also learn about the efforts of U.S. states to increase EV adoption in the ACEEE’s State Transportation Electrification Scorecard, published in 2021.
Vehicle ratings provided by ACEEE/GreenerCars.org