The New Era of High-MPG Cars

The 2010 Best Green Cars list highlights six high MPG cars that will carry you 40 miles or farther on a gallon of gasoline.
By John Rockhold
April/May 2010
Add to My MSN

The 50-mpg 2010 Toyota Prius is one of our six 2010 Best Green Cars. Recently redesigned for its third generation, the Prius remains the benchmark by which all other green cars are measured. 
PHOTO: TRANSTOCK IMAGES


Content Tools

Related Content

Running With the Bulls (or in my case, Heifers)

Cam has an exciting evening when his neighbor drops off another expectant cow.

Test Driving the New Honda CR-Z Hybrid!

Managing editor John Rockhold gets a Honda CR-Z hybrid on loan and has a hard time returning to his ...

False Green Claims On the Rise, Study Finds

TerraChoice’s annual Sins of Greenwashing study finds that 95 percent of the products claiming to be...

Motorcycle Guys Test Drive the Honda CR-Z Hybrid

MOTHER EARTH NEWS managing editor John Rockhold picks the brains of his colleagues at Motorcycle Cla...

Welcome to a new era of green cars — and buckle up, because this is just the beginning of what looks to be an unprecedented focus from automakers on gas mileage and advanced technologies to create practical, reliable and relatively affordable green vehicles. Years ago, that would’ve sounded too good to be true — just another halfhearted promise from an industry still in love with inefficient SUVs and same-old, same-old 20-something mpg cars. But thanks in part to the recent recession, change truly has come to the automotive industry.

The fallout’s take-home messages to automakers worldwide were loud and clear: gas mileage matters, create better products that meet drivers’ needs, and bring long talked-about green technologies to market. To be fair, some automakers (such as Honda and Toyota) have shown their commitment to fuel efficiency, even when it wasn’t trendy to do so. But the bottom line is that fuel economy and beyond-gas technologies are now higher priorities than ever before.

So what does this mean for you right now? It may come as a surprise that despite the economic upheaval, automakers produced a decent lineup of high-mpg cars for the 2010 model year. Thanks to clean diesel and new and redesigned gasoline-electric hybrids, the overall list of green car options is stronger than ever. Plus, it’s a buyer’s market. If you’d like to save money at the pump, this is a great time to negotiate a great deal on a new car. (Experts predict $3/gallon gasoline will return soon, if it hasn’t already by the time you’re reading this. To learn more, read Gas Likely to Hit $3 a Gallon by Summer.)

All of this prompted our first Best Green Cars list. Our goals are to praise innovation in practical, energy-efficient transportation and signal which cars are standouts among a growing crowd of options. In selecting our inaugural list, fuel economy and emissions mattered most. We also considered price, safety and reliability. All told, we wanted to award cars that meet the everyday needs of everyday people. As much as many of us would love to own the all-electric Tesla Roadster, it simply isn’t affordable or practical for the masses.

Of the six 2010 award winners, all are capable of 40 mpg or better. Five of the six are available for $25,000 or less. All six have good ratings for crash safety and mechanical reliability. Two cars on our list are veterans of accolades: the Honda Civic Hybrid and the Toyota Prius. The Prius is in its third generation and can now top 50 mpg, but had its halo tarnished by Toyota’s recent recall problems. The 42-mpg Civic Hybrid faces increasing competition, even from Honda itself via the 41-mpg Insight (the most affordable hybrid available). The 39-mpg Fusion Hybrid is a much-welcome entry into the green car lineup from Ford, the lone American automaker to escape the recession without federal bailout funds. New clean diesel technology has expanded the definition of green cars, and the two best current models, Volkswagen’s Jetta and Golf, round out our list.

To read more about the six winners, read 2010 Best Green Cars. There you’ll also find a variety of best-of lists that will help you identify the best green car options for your specific needs.


John Rockhold is a green car enthusiast and Contributing Editor for MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Find him on .


Previous | 1 | 2 | Next






Post a comment below.

 

Rachels
7/14/2014 8:41:21 AM
Let's hope the trend to create better cars will last for a long time, we needed this kind of change. I'm about to get myself a new car and I've seen some very interesting ones on http://www.rocklandchryslerjeepdodge.net/index.htm, but even though I haven't made up my mind yet, I know it will be one with a good mpg.








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.