2009 Spring Car Guide
auto
Hybrids not only gas solution

Vehicles are rated on each of the air pollution and greenhouse gas scores on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being best. To receive the SmartWay designation a vehicle must score at least a 6 on each and have a total combined score of at least 13. Because we are concentrating on vehicles that are alternatives to hybrids, we have eliminated those that don't get at least 21 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. There were several automobiles included on the EPA's list that just missed ours. Subaru, for example, has several SmartWay entries that missed our list by 1 mpg or 2 mpg. You can find the complete EPA list at www.epa.gov/greenvehicles.

Volkswagen Touareg 2 TDI – MSRP $43,550
Costing about $3,500 more than the gasoline-fueled V-8 version, the TDI wrings 17 miles in the city and 25 miles on the highway out of a gallon of fuel. The V-8's EPA rating is 13 mpg city and 18 mpg highway. Capable of towing up to 7,716 pounds, the TDI dashes from zero to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds, according to Volkswagen. Generating the go is a 221-horsepower, 3-liter, turbocharged diesel V-6. A six-speed automatic transmission sends engine output to all four wheels. It has a low-range gear for off-road travel. The TDI and V-8 share standard equipment that includes speed-sensitive, rain-sensing wipers; power sunroof; six air bags; eight-way, power front seats; tilt and telescoping steering wheel with redundant audio controls; dual-zone, automatic climate controls; and a 10-speaker audio system with CD player and auxiliary input jack.

SmartWay vehicles
Saving some coin at the pump and leaving less of a carbon footprint doesn't need to involve cutting-edge technology. If you are willing to pilot a smaller car and do a little homework -- and we've done most of it for you -- you can get good mileage and minimize emissions without paying a higher purchase price for a hybrid or extra at the pump for diesel fuel.

The EPA has designated a group of automobiles as SmartWay. These are cars that not only achieve good fuel economy, but release less tailpipe emissions into the air.

To qualify as a SmartWay vehicle, cars must meet certain emission levels and fuel-economy values. Two different emission criteria are used:

  • Air pollution score.
  • Greenhouse gas score.

The air pollution score is based on the amount of certain pollutants discharged into the atmosphere. They include hydrocarbons, nitrous oxides, carbon monoxide and the like. These are what contribute to smog and haze. The greenhouse gas score is really a function of a vehicle's mpg. The amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that a vehicle releases are tied directly to how many miles a vehicle gets to the gallon -- the fewer mpg, the more greenhouse gases that vehicle discharges traveling from point A to point B.

Vehicles are rated on each of the air pollution and greenhouse gas scores on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being best. To receive the SmartWay designation a vehicle must score at least a 6 on each and have a total combined score of at least 13. Because we are concentrating on vehicles that are alternatives to hybrids, we have eliminated those that don't get at least 21 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. There were several automobiles included on the EPA's list that just missed ours. Subaru, for example, has several SmartWay entries that missed our list by 1 mpg or 2 mpg. You can find the complete EPA list at www.epa.gov/greenvehicles.

advertisement
replacecontent-tcm:8-124168

Show Bankrate's community sharing policy
          Connect with us
advertisement
 

A little research could save you BIG on interest.

Don't have time? Our rate-tracker tool saves you time and money. Delivered Thursdays.
 
advertisement
Partner Center
advertisement

Blog

Tara Baukus Mello

2 years free charging from Nissan

Nissan is hoping to spur more sales of electric cars with an incentive that offers new buyers two years of free public charging.  ... Read more


Connect with us