The 8 Most Sustainable Cars on the Market

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electric car charging by xlibber via Flickr

When you’re looking for a way to reduce your overall carbon footprint, the first item you should consider is your car. Personal vehicles are responsible for approximately one-fifth of all U.S. emissions, because every gallon of gas burned emits 24 pounds of carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the atmosphere.

Switching to a fuel-efficient vehicle might well be the most eco-friendly decision you can make. Vehicles that travel farther on fewer gallons of gas produce fewer emissions, which will slow the pace of global warming.

The next time you go shopping for a car, take a good look at the following sustainable vehicles.

1. Ford C-Max Hybrid

This little hatchback gets about 40 miles to the gallon. It’s a small car, but the 2.0L I-4 188hp hybrid gas engine gives it plenty of power. It starts at just $25k, which makes it a great bargain for your fuel-efficiency needs.

2. Toyota Camry Hybrid

This sedan starts at $26k and averages 43 miles to the gallon. What makes this vehicle especially attractive is that its gas mileage in the city is actually better than its mileage on the highway. That makes it an excellent car for driving to work and running errands without having to worry about causing excess pollution.

3. Toyota Prius

The entire Prius family is known for getting great gas mileage and having a gentle impact on the environment. The newest vehicle on the market operates on an average of 58 mpg in the city and 53 mpg on the highway. It starts at $24k, but you can easily find an older version or a used Prius on sale for less than $20k.

4. Tesla Model S

If you’re tired of driving a gas-guzzling vehicle and you can afford it, Tesla’s electric vehicles will never disappoint. The 2016 Model S covers a range of 230 to 253 miles on a full battery.

If you’re going farther than that, you can supplement the electric charge with gasoline, which will give you an average of 101 miles to the gallon. The other benefit of Tesla’s vehicles is that they’re fast and they don’t scrimp on power. The only downside with this model is that it starts at $70k.

5. Nissan LEAF

Starting at $29k, this little sedan/hatchback is a bargain when you factor in the savings you will enjoy. It’s the first vehicle to rival Tesla’s models at a much more affordable price. The battery life is not nearly as impressive as you’ll get with the Tesla, but it will give you up to 100 miles using just the battery. When supplemented with gasoline, the car gets an average of 115 miles to the gallon.

6. BMW i3

If you’re looking for luxury, sustainability, and affordability, the $42k BMW i3 is an excellent solution. It offers up to 160 miles on the battery alone or up to 137 city miles for every gallon of gasoline. The vehicle is small, but it doesn’t lack power, which makes this car particularly appealing.

7. Honda Civic Hybrid

This mid-size sedan is a little larger than the traditional hybrid, so it offers more comfort. It gets approximately 45 miles to the gallon and starts at an unbelievably low price of $24k, which makes it easily accessible to anyone hoping to reduce his or her carbon footprint.

8. Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

Despite the current scandal surrounding Volkswagen and the company’s emissions data, the Jetta Hybrid model is a highly sustainable vehicle. Boasting an average of 44 miles to the gallon, and a four-door sedan design, the vehicle is comfortable and economical. It starts at $31k, and will keep your personal emissions down.