2012 Mitsubishi i - First Drive, U.S.-spec MiEV
There are many reasons to choose an electric vehicle - saving money on gas, to reduce dependency on foreign oil, or maybe simply because you like the way they drive - but one of the main reasons has to be green appeal.
To prove the theory, the Mitsubishi i electric car has just topped the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)'s "Greenest" list, for the most environmentally-friendly vehicles.
Now in its 14th year, the electric Mitsubishi has toppled the 8-year reign of the 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas as America's greenest vehicle. That backs up the i's status as the highest-rated vehicle by the EPA, with a figure of 112 MPGe.
The ACEEE has taken into account the environmental cost of generating the i's electricity, though this is clearly a figure that will fluctuate depending on the individual user's electricity mix.
Vehicles competing on the Greenest list are scored according to tailpipe emissions, fuel consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions. Changes for this year also included extra factors, considering the environmental impact of manufacturing, as well as the extraction process for natural gas, and an eye on changes in the electricity generation mix.
The Civic Natural Gas still managed a second-place finish this year, so if electric cars still don't suit your lifestyle and you know the location of local CNG pumps, then it could be the green choice for you. The Honda tied with the 2012 Nissan Leaf.
The top six was rounded off with the Toyota Prius, Honda Insight and Smart ForTwo. Behind those, the Scion iQ, Honda Civic Hybrid, Lexus CT 200h, Toyota Camry Hybrid, Honda CR-Z and Toyota Yaris complete the top dozen.
While the presence of the 2012 Mitsubishi i and 2012 Nissan Leaf shows that electric cars are fast becoming the kings of green, the list also suggests that if you want a green car, the choices are wider than ever - from minicars, through subcompacts, up to mid-size sedans and coupes.