Consumers Are Seeking Eco Friendly Cars More Than Ever Before

But What Exactly Makes A Car
Fuel Efficient And Eco Friendly?

Eco friendly green car with grass surface and harmless exhaust emissions There's more than one way for cars to be eco friendly. Each individual car can be fuel efficient and made with sustainable manufacturing and shipping processes, people can use cars in an eco friendly way or a combination of the two.

There are even groups of individuals that are sharing eco friendly cars for community use. Below I have discovered some of the ways that people use cars and descriptions of some of the best eco friendly cars on the market today.

Types of Eco Friendly Cars

Hybrids - These work by capturing the energy that is created when the car breaks. This energy is stored in batteries, then used as fuel until it is gone, at which point the car switches automatically to the gas engine. Hybrids are quieter than conventional cars and don't require special facilities for fueling. If you live in California or Arizona, you get the added bonus of being able to use the carpool lane any time you wish.

Biodiesel - This fuel is a blend of vegetable oil and conventional diesel fuel. Any existing engine that uses diesel fuel (most trucks, for instance) can use biodiesel with no equipment conversion or other extra measures, although you might wish to change your oil filter slightly more often. You can also switch back and forth between biodiesel and regular diesel if you don't have a steady supply.

Biodiesel is a great way to make your driving more eco friendly with the car you already have, or with a used vehicle. Diesel engines can be modified to run on straight vegetable oil (SVO), although fueling with SVO entails more work for the consumer.

Ethanol-based - This type of fuel additive is usually made from wheat, corn, or barley. The most common fuel made from ethanol is called E85. E85 is a blend of 15 percent conventional gasoline and 85 percent ethanol. Ethanol is eco friendly because it reduces emissions. As a bonus, it also costs less than conventional gasoline in most locations.

Some people do not like ethanol because they feel that growing crops for fuel threatens food supply and drives up the prices of vegetables and meat (corn used as animal feed) at the grocery store.

Be aware that availability of E85 varies wildly by location, For example, there are no public E85 stations at all in New York and only one in California. But there are over a hundred of them in the state of Illinois for instance.

Most auto manufacturers produce models that are Ethanol Flexible Fuel Vehicles or FFV's, which let you fuel up with either E85 or conventional gas.

Some popular Eco Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFV's) include the:

  • Toyota Tundra and Toyota Sequoia
  • Nissan Armada and Nissan Titan
  • Chrysler Sebring
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • Dodge Ram and Dodge Durango
  • Chevy Impala, Chevy Suburban, and the Chevy Silverado
  • Saturn Relay
New FFVs are coming onto the market all the time, so check with your local dealership to see what is going to be available.

Comparison Shopping For New Eco-Friendly Cars


Many cars are marketed as eco friendly in today's automotive market. Of these, hybrids are the most popular. Eco friendly hybrid cars use both a conventional gasoline engine and an electric one. They are far less polluting than gasoline-only vehicles, making a big impact, as every unused gallon of gas saves 19 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. This can really add up nation or worldwide.

Hybrids use the electric engine for stopping and starting the car, which means that they are even more energy efficient in city driving than they are on the highway, where they use gasoline constantly.

Federal and state tax incentives help to subsidize the higher sticker price of most eco friendly cars. Even so, top-rated hybrids may take up to five years to pay for themselves in fuel efficiency. If you plan to keep your vehicle at least five years, which is even more of an eco friendly decision than getting a hybrid in the first place, then you'll have the opportunity to be eco friendly and save some money in the long run as well.

Here's a quick comparison of the most popular and Top-rated Hybrid Models on the market today:

  • Ford Fusion - A larger and more comfortable eco car is the best American-made green vehicle available. In fact, it has received the popular Motor Trend Magazine's Car of the Year Award, which makes this an outstanding achievement for a USA auto maker, considering they were so LATE getting involved with producing eco friendly cars.
  • Toyota Prius - This car is a "full hybrid", which means that it has a 1.5-liter gasoline engine as well as an electric motor. The car automatically switches between the two power sources or uses both as needed. In road tests, the Prius averages an excellent 44 miles per gallon. The Toyota Prius is both the most popular and the most efficient of eco friendly cars.
  • Nissan Altima - This automobile uses the same hybrid system as the Prius, but gets only about 33 miles to the gallon MPG, which I think is a bit disappointing. The Nissan eco car is still a decent choice compared to conventional vehicles. While less powerful than the Prius or the Civic, it still consistently makes the list of the top ten eco friendly cars on the market in reviews.
  • Honda Civic - The Civic is called a "power assist hybrid". Basically, this means that the Civic's electric motor works as a large starter motor. It gets less use than the Prius' electric motor. Civic hybrids average 37 miles per gallon (MPG) and get consistent good reviews from auto critics.
  • Lexus GS450h - This car is the first rear-wheel-drive hybrid sedan to enter the US market. Although classified as a full hybrid, the GS450h only gets about 23 miles per gallon, which is no better than many non-hybrid vehicles, and actually only one mile per gallon more efficient than Lexus's own non-hybrid counterpart. It makes you wonder why they went to the trouble building this car?
  • Toyota Camry - Toyota hybrid-ized the Camry to appeal to families who found the Prius a bit on the small side. The Camry hybrid averages about 34 miles to the gallon.

Other Top Eco Cars (Non-Hybrids)

  • Honda Civic GX NGV, - this eco car runs on compressed natural gas instead of gasoline. This is a great in-town option for people who live in areas with natural gas facilities, but in between a small tank and spotty refueling facilities, it's not yet a good idea to take a car fueled by natural gas on a longer road-trip.
  • Smart Fortwo - The eco vehicle has been on the road in Europe and Canada for years, and is now gaining popularity in the United States. The average mileage is 33 MPG city and 41 MPG on the highway. This eco friendly car only seats two people so it isn't generally appropriate families with many children, as there is no backseat!
  • Toyota Yaris - If you're looking for cheap eco friendly cars, you'll find the Yaris, which seats five people, is an affordable option eco friendly option . With mileage of 29 city/36 highway, the Yaris can take the whole family farther for less money and less impact on the earth.
  • Mini Cooper - The stylish Mini Cooper says, "I care about the earth and looking fabulous." It's the closest thing to an eco friendly sports car that is widely sold. Often classified as one of a small group of eco friendly luxury cars, the Mini Cooper averages mileage of 28 city/35 highway.

Eco Friendly Ways To Use Cars

Eco friendliness and cars can go together in more ways than one. The Facebook application for Zimride targets 80 million Facebook social network users worldwide to help folks save money, get where they need to go, and shrink their carbon footprints. To do so, they use software that combines Google Maps, social networking, and a proprietary algorithm. Zimride partners with cities, universities, and companies to provide ride-share solutions across the globe.

You can even set up a fully customized carpool community for your organization, if you wish!

Zimride, in cooperation with Live Earth, sponsors an application called Carpool to the Polls to get everyone out there voting in an eco friendly way. Zimride also teams up with Ecorio so that owners of phones with the Android mobile operating system can not only connect with ride shares, but also use GPS to track travel related carbon emissions and locate public transit alternatives.

If you're interested in eco friendly rental cars, especially if you're an urban dweller who doesn't necessarily need your own eco car, you might be interested in joining a car sharing service. The popular car-sharing service Zipcar has been around and saving its customers money and hassle for a while, but now they're facing some stiff competition, as Connect by Hertz has entered the market in several American cities.

While competing with Zipcar, Connect includes gas, roadside assistance, and insurance in the price of the rental, and even the option to rent Zipcar's trademark model, the Mini Cooper.

Although Connect's own trademark vehicle, the Toyota Prius, green "one-ups" them. Their eco car rentals also include iPod connectivity, EZ Pass transponders, and in-car navigation, which may be desirable features.

Here's The Pollution Spewing Car You And I Routinely Get Stuck Behind Daily

Eco friendly green car with grass surface and harmless exhaust emissions

Doesn't This Drive You Crazy!?