Think of "green cars," and hybrid or electric vehicles like the Toyota Prius and Tesla Model S likely come to mind. Surprisingly, though, many other more conventional cars are also considered "green." While the majority of cars on the road today burn gasoline, and will for the foreseeable future, many gas-powered vehicles meet the two defining requirements of a green vehicle: They use less fuel than average, and they produce fewer harmful emissions than average.
Tremendous progress has been made in raising fuel-economy standards and reducing emissions since the passage of Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards and the Clean Air Act in the 1970s, and today most efforts to make cars greener still involve improvements to gasoline cars. In fact, 30 of the 65 cars reviewed in the 2017 AAA Green Car Guide are powered solely by internal combustion engines, most of which burn gas. Such vehicles are available across a wide spectrum of brands, types, models, and price ranges, including full-size sedans, compact hatchbacks, luxury crossovers, minivans, pickup trucks, and more. We look at what it means to be a green car outside the world of hybrids and electrics.