Here Are the Year's Least Eco-Friendly Cars
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) Super-fast sports cars and big brawny pickup trucks are great for some drivers, but here's a look at five environmentally unfriendly 2014 models you definitely don't want to take to a Greenpeace convention.
"If you're going [to buy] one of these cars, 'green-ness' isn't really your priority," says Shruti Vaidyanathan of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy , which recently released its 17th annual Greenest Vehicles and Meanest Vehicles lists.
The rankings highlight 2014 vehicles that the Washington, D.C., think tank considers the most and least friendly to the environment.
Hybrid and electric cars dominate this year's green-autos list , but sportsters, large trucks and big sport utility vehicles account for models the ACEEE sees as least eco-friendly.
"The 'meanest' list is typically ... made up of European sports cars that have ginormous engines and a lot of power behind them, [or] large trucks where weight and poor fuel economy are the contributing factors," Vaidyanathan says.
Her group hopes consumers who want such vehicles (or need them for work) will at least skip the "meanest" models in favor of something somewhat greener.
Look below for a rundown of the models that top of this year's meanest-car list.
All miles-per-gallon figures reflect automakers' published U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates, while all dollar figures refer to manufacturers' suggested retail prices for each model's base 2014 edition (including destination charges but excluding any federal "gas-guzzler" tax).
Vehicle weights refer to "equivalent test weights," the weight of a fully loaded vehicle plus 300 pounds to reflect occupants. Pollution ratings refer to how well a vehicle complies with federal and/or California emissions standards. (The Golden State has its own stringent emissions rules that many automakers follow.)
Fifth-meanest 2014 for the environment: Mercedes Benz G63 AMG
Base price: $136,625
It's little surprise that a big Mercedes-Benz sport utility vehicle would rate low for eco-friendliness, but the boxy G63 AMG scores particularly badly on the ACEEE's rankings.
Its non-aerodynamic shape, heavy test weight and 536-horsepower V-8 engine combine to produce just 12 mpg/city and 14 mpg/highway. At the same time, the G63 AMG only complies with California's second-loosest emissions standard and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's "Bin 5" benchmark. (The EPA ranks models' pollution output in one of 10 "bins," with Bin 1 the greenest and Bin 10 the worst.)
"The G63 AMG is a 6,000-pound vehicle, its fuel economy isn't great and it's certified to one of the dirtier [pollution standards] out there," Vaidyanathan says. "All of that means it's not going to perform well [in terms of eco-friendliness]."
Fourth-meanest 2014 for the environment: Bentley Mulsanne
Base price: $301,625
Britain's Bentley Motors will add a built-in champagne cooler to your Mulsanne superpremium sedan if you'd like, but don't expect to be sharing any bubbly with the folks at the World Wildlife Fund if you buy one.