Resources for Choosing an Energy Efficient Vehicle

Simplifying Your Green Vehicle Shopping

Line of colored small carsIf you’re in the market for an energy efficient vehicle, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the wide selection. But it can be incredibly difficult to compare one make and model to the other given the many ways car manufacturers spin the fuel consumption statistics for their vehicles. Thankfully today there are numerous online resources that do the work for you.

First, you should start off with a little refresher course on the various types of vehicles on the market, including things like alternative fuel vehicles, electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles, hybrid vehicles, and so on. The US Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy office has an Energy Savers guide to vehicle types for your educational pleasure.


Resources for buying an energy efficient car

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a comprehensive website with several tools you can use to evaluate one vehicle against another. You can compare side by side, by class, by make, by miles per gallon (MPG), or by the best and worst rated. There are additional search options and formats for their data on vehicles dating as far back as 1984.


Natural Resources Canada Compare Vehicles Tool

In addition to listing the most fuel efficient vehicles for the current model year (and previous as well), Natural Resources Canada offers an online tool for comparing the fuel efficiency of various vehicles. This interactive tool lets you toggle the size, year, make, model, transmission, and other vectors to compare vehicles on fuel consumption. Results are displayed in dollars per year and liters per year, as well as mileage for city and highway in liters per 100 kilometers. They also provide stats on the carbon dioxide emissions produced by each on an annual basis.


EcoCense iPhone App

This $0.99 app lets you see how much you’ll save by upgrading to a more efficient vehicle. With it, you can add vehicle costs, usage, and MPG for two vehicles and the app will spit out information on which is the most efficient model. The best feature on this app is that it can estimate your savings so that you can determine how long it will take to recoup a new vehicle investment.


EnerGuide Label - Canada

Canadians can take advantage of convenient on-vehicle EnerGuide labels. These will show at a glance the city and highway fuel consumption ratings and an estimated annual fuel cost for that particular vehicle.



And if you need a little push to buy a newer, more efficient vehicle, one way to motivate yourself is to track how much fuel your current vehicle uses and compare that to the fuel (and money) you’ll save by buying a more eco-friendly vehicle. This mobile iPhone app is a great way to track your fuel consumption for multiple vehicles and can be used in any country. It will track your historical fuel economy statistics and let you export them to further analyze them.


GreenCar’s ACEEE Green Book Online

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has been testing vehicles for fuel consumption for over 10 years and keeps detailed test records for model years 2000 to present. Though this is a subscriber based consumer site, it does have comprehensive Green Scores for those looking for detailed environmental information about their vehicle, both new and used choices.


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