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Green Cars

Posted by on Nov. 9, 2009 at 8:39 AM
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As someone who hopes to be in the car buying positon soon, I found this helpful.  Hope you do too!!  Let me know if you have any suggestions for one!

– M.G., Stroudsburg, Pa.

With so many new energy-efficient cars in showrooms today, there has never been a better time to go green with your next car purchase. A few years ago, the Toyota Prius was the go-to model for those with an environmental conscience and up to $30,000 to pay for the privilege of getting 35 to 40 miles per gallon in the city and 45 to 55 mpg on the highway. But today, there is such a wide selection of fuel-efficient and low-emissions vehicles that even those on a budget can afford to go green.

Honda’s new Insight is the first hybrid gasoline-electric car available new for less than $20,000 (starting at $19,800). It has fuel-efficiency ratings of 40 miles per gallon in the city and 43 mpg on the highway.

There are plenty of other hybrids to choose from, although most cost at least a few thousand dollars more than equivalent non-hybrid models. Toyota’s Prius, which is available only as a hybrid, still is the world’s top-selling and most fuel-efficient hybrid. Its cost has dropped some, now starting at $22,400, and the “third-generation” Prius 10 now claims an Environmental Protection Agency combined city/highway rating of 50 mpg. This most recent edition even features a whimsical solar panel on the roof to power a ventilation system that keeps the interior of the car cool even on scorching-hot days. Hybrid versions of Honda’s Civic ($23,800), Nissan’s Altima ($26,780), Ford’s Fusion ($27,625) and Escape SUV ($31,500), Mercury’s Milan ($31,590) and Mariner SUV ($29,995), and Toyota’s Camry ($26,150) and Highlander SUV ($34,700) are also in showrooms.

Many smaller cars with regular gasoline engines also get great mileage with low emissions for even less money. Some examples include the Corolla ($15,350), Matrix ($16,550) and Yaris ($12,355) from Toyota, Honda’s Fit ($14,900), the Mazda 3 ($16,045), Chevy’s Aveo ($11,965) and Cobalt ($14,990), Hyundai’s Accent ($9,970) and Elantra ($14,145), Pontiac’s G3 ($14,335), the Kia Rio ($11,495), the MINI Cooper ($19,500), Ford’s Focus ($15,995), and the Smart Car ForTwo ($11,990).

Diesel fuel now is cleaner than ever, and a few automakers are going down that road. Volkswagen’s Jetta TDI ($22,660), Audi’s A3 TDI ($29,950) and BMW’s 335d ($43,900) are three examples of high-performance vehicles with solid green credentials regarding fuel efficiency and emissions. A bonus is that such cars can run on carbon-neutral biodiesel as well as petroleum-based diesel fuel.

Consumers starting their search for a new ride should check out, which provides detailed information about the many greener vehicles available today, as well as those on the horizon. Also, the federal government’s provides detailed mileage and emissions information about dozens of new cars every year, and it provides users with an easy and free way to compare vehicles’ effects on the environment.

Send your environmental questions to EarthTalk, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881, or Read past columns at

Best Wishes,  Scarlet
Go green!  Replace harsh chemicals in your house and medicine cabinet with organic essential oils, nutritional supplements, and personal care.   Shop with me at http://

by on Nov. 9, 2009 at 8:39 AM
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