AAA’s Automotive Club of Southern California's Automotive Research Center revealed this week that the 2013 Tesla Model S earned top scores in its 2014 Green Car Guide. Behind the Tesla Model S, the 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV, 2014 Audi A7 TDI, 2013 Lexus GS Hybrid and 2013 Nissan Leaf round out the top five on the list.
“The Tesla Model S is an incredible car,” says Steve Mazor, Automotive Research Center manager and chief engineer, in a statement. “It’s the fastest green car we’ve ever tested: it rides and handles very well; it’s extremely quiet and stops on a dime.”
The AAA Green Car Guide is an annual report reviewing vehicles with high fuel economy estimates, including vehicles powered by hybrid, electric and alternative fuel technologies. This year, 80 cars were reviewed for the guide. Cars are selected for testing based on California Air Resources Board emissions certifications and fuel economy estimates from the EPA. The vehicles are scored from 0 to 10 points in 13 categories, including emissions, crashworthiness, roominess, acceleration, braking, handling and ride quality.
"Scores were totaled to determine top vehicles,” explains AAA. “Then, each vehicle’s total score was divided by its as-tested price to determine its cost per point for best value."
The 2013 Chevrolet Spark takes AAA's title for Best Green Car Value for 2014. Also placing in the top five on the best value list are the 2012 Hyundai Elantra, 2014 Nissan Versa, 2012 Scion iQ and 2014 Nissan Versa Note.
According to the AAA Green Car Guide, the average fuel economy for passenger cars has increased by about 11.5 mpg since 1975 to 25.4 mpg currently. Switching from a 20-mpg vehicle to one that gets 25 mpg could save drivers $500 annually, while switching to a 50-mpg vehicle could save about $1,600 a year, AAA reports.