By Ayana Meade, Guest Post from Greenopia.com
With gas prices not being what they used to be, buying a top fuel-efficient car has not only become a smart choice for the planet, but also for the pocketbook. Luckily, finding the right one has just become that much easier. Greenopia.com has just released the 2009 Automobile Guide evaluating gas mileage, manufacturing footprint, emissions and more, using their EPA-recognized 4-Leaf rating system, so you can find the best green value for your buck.
Only the top 100 greenest cars readily available in the US made the cut, with the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid , and Jetta Clean Diesel topping the list, with high marks for burning cleanly and incredibly high gas mileage. Audi and Mazda, while performing respectably on the Greenopia Automaker Guide (which rates the overall performance of auto manufacturers), surprisingly also had a statistically large number of cars that met at least the minimum criteria for the Automobile Guide as well.
According to an Intellichoice.com study, hybrid cars whose fuel efficiency alone may not justify their higher initial purchase price, are in fact more economical in the long-run. When financing, fuel, insurance, state taxes and license fees, repairs, maintenance and depreciation are factored in over five years, a Prius will cost $13,408 less than a similar-size non-hybrid sedan.
Hybrids also retain their value better than conventional cars, have moderate maintenance and repair costs and, of course, there are those lower fuel costs. Last but not least, let’s not forget Uncle Sam’s federal tax credits. Veteran hybrid owners and those considering buying one should check out the US Department of Energy to see if your car qualifies for an energy tax credit ranging anywhere from $1,950 to $3,400.
Since your choice of transportation is second only to your home’s energy use in terms of carbon dioxide emissions, driving less or not at all is of course the ideal way to reduce your carbon footprint and save a few bucks, but if you’re like many and need a car to get around in today’s fast paced world, then this guide can help you choose a car that won’t break the bank.