13 Most Eco-Friendly Cars in the US (Electric & Hybrid)

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We all know that gas-guzzling SUVs and trucks are not great for the environment But what are our options when to it comes to buying greener vehicles.

The best eco-friendly cars in the U.S. come in all shapes and sizes, with various fuel types.

Whether you’re looking for a petrol car, diesel car, or electric car, there’s an option that will work for you.

In this article, I’ll look at the best eco-friendly cars on the market in July 2022.

So, whether you’re looking to save money on your fuel costs or help reduce your carbon footprint, there’s an eco-friendly car out there for you!

The 13 Best Eco-Friendly Cars in the U.S. (Petrol, Diesel, and Electric Options)

While electric cars appear to be the future (both in terms of performance and eco-friendly credentials), I’m conscious that some people are not ready to make the leap just yet.

With this in mind, while heavily focused on electric and hybrid cars, the list below also covers a few alternative options.

Our 10 Favorite Electric/Hybrid Options

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

The Tesla Model S is one of the most popular electric cars on the market today. It has a range of up to 412 miles (depending on the model spec) on a single charge.

The Plaid model has three electric motors, boosting combined output to a staggering 1,020 horsepower and 0-60 in just 2.1 seconds.

The Model S is also one of the safest cars on the road, with a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

If you’ve got the budget and looking for an eco-friendly car that’s luxurious and fun to drive, the Tesla Model S is a great option.

Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X SUV

Unlike most SUVs on the market, the Model X is built for efficiency and performance.

It has a unique all-wheel-drive system that uses two electric motors to independently power the front and rear wheels. This allows the Model X to have better traction and handling in all weather conditions.

The Model X is also the fastest SUV in production, with a 0-60 time of just 3.2 seconds. And it has some impressive range, too – up to 335 miles on a single charge. Not bad for an SUV!

The Model X boasts a 5-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a perfect score in crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

With its combination of style, substance, and safety, the Tesla Model X is sure to turn heads on the road.

Chevrolet Volt

Chevrolet Volt

The Chevrolet Volt is a plug-in hybrid that was introduced in 2010. It has a range of 53 miles on electric power and 420 miles with a full tank of gas.

The Volt is equipped with a unique feature called the Regen on Demand, which allows the driver to generate electricity while braking. This regenerative braking system increases the range of the car by up to 15%.

The Volt is one of the most eco-friendly cars on the market, and it’s perfect for those who want to save money on fuel costs.

Nissan Leaf

Nissan leaf

The Nissan Leaf is an all-electric car with a range of up to 150 miles per charge. It has a 24 kWh battery pack that you can recharge in about eight hours from a 240-volt outlet or half that time from a 400-volt quick charger.

The Nissan Leaf is powered by an electric motor that produces 107 horsepower and 187 lb-ft of torque. It has a top speed of 90 mph and can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in around seven seconds.

BMW i3

BMW i3 Electric

When it comes to luxury cars, few brands can match the style and performance of BMW. However, nowadays, the German automaker is also known for its environmentally-friendly models, such as the i3.

The all-electric i3 car has a range of over 200 miles, making it perfect for city driving. It’s also highly efficient, with a low drag coefficient that helps to improve range.

The i3 features regenerative braking that captures energy and funnels it back into the battery. As a result, the i3 is not only good for the environment, but it’s also good for your wallet.

Whether you’re looking for a stylish commuter or an eco-friendly ride, the BMW i3 is sure to impress.

Volkswagen e-Golf

Volkswagen e-Golf

The Volkswagen e-Golf is a hatchback that runs on electricity and is one of the more popular models in the Volkswagen lineup.

The e-Golf has a range of about 125 miles on a single charge, and it can be recharged in about four hours using a Level 2 charger.

It’s powered by an electric motor that produces 134 horsepower and 214 lb-ft of torque. It’s not the quickest car in the world, but it’s punchy enough for everyday driving. And, since it’s electric, it’s very smooth and quiet.

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron is a plug-in hybrid. It has a range of 16 miles on electric power and up to 400 miles with a full tank of gas.

The A3 Sportback e-tron is equipped with a 8.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that you can recharge in about two hours from a 240-volt outlet.

The A Sportback e-tron is powered by an electric motor that produces 204 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. It has a top speed of 130 mph and can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in around seven seconds.

The A3 Sportback e-tron is rated at 83 MPGe in the city and 61 MPGe on the highway in terms of fuel economy.

Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Hyundai Ioniq Electric

The Ioniq Electric has a range of up to 124 miles on a single charge, and it can be recharged in about four hours using a Level II charger. It’s powered by an electric motor that produces 118 horsepower and 218 lb-ft of torque.

The EPA rates the Ioniq Electric at 110 miles per charge in the city and 96 miles per charge on the highway.

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly car that’s also fun to drive, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric is worth considering.

Toyota Prius Prime

Toyota Prius Prime

The Toyota Prius Prime is a plug-in hybrid with a range of 25 miles on electric power and up to 620 miles with a full tank of gas.

The Prime is equipped with an 8.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that you can recharge in about two hours from a 240-volt outlet. The Prime is powered by an electric motor that produces 121 horsepower and 149 lb-ft of torque.

The Toyota Prius Prime is a great all-around vehicle that offers excellent fuel economy and low emissions.

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

With a starting price of just $35,000, the Tesla Model 3 is the most affordable Tesla. And it’s not just cheap to buy, it’s also cheap to drive.

The Model 3 gets an estimated range of 220 miles per charge, and with Tesla’s growing network of Superchargers, it’s easy to keep the batteries topped off.

It’s marketed as a cheaper, smaller version of the Model S…but it’s so much more than that. The interior is surprisingly spacious, and the car is hushed and smooth to drive.

The Tesla Model 3 is a great car and a significant step forward in evolving affordable electric vehicles.

Mini Cooper

Mini Cooper Electric

The Mini Cooper is a historic British car that has been given a new lease on life with an all-electric powertrain.

However, in recent years, the Mini has become known more for its style than its substance. The new electric Cooper seeks to change that by offering both style and substance in a fun-to-drive and environmentally friendly package.

The electric Cooper retains the style of the classic Mini, with its round headlights and stubby body. However, it also features modern touches, such as LED taillights and 17-inch alloy wheels.

Under the hood, the electric Cooper is powered by a 32 kWh battery pack that provides enough juice for a range of up to 145 miles. It also features a quick-charging system that can add 80% charge in just 35 minutes.

Our Two Favorite Diesel Options

We all know now that diesel cars are not low emission vehicles and that they do significantly contribute to air pollution.

However, they do offer added fuel efficiency when compared to petrol cars (which is why we were all told to buy them up until a few years ago).

If you are buying secondhand, and have decided on diesel, then these models will provide the lowest environmental impact.

Citroen C4 Cactus

The Citroen C4 Cactus is a unique and stylish hatchback perfect for city driving.

It’s a quirky little car that’s sure to turn heads. The Cactus is undoubtedly a car that makes a statement with its unique design. But it’s not just its looks that make it stand out from the crowd. The Cactus is also packed with features that make it a joy to drive.

The car comes with an advanced infotainment system that includes Apple Carplay and Android Auto compatibility. The Cactus also features an impressive array of safety features, including lane departure warning and automated emergency braking.

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly diesel car that’s also fun to drive, the Citroen C4 Cactus is a winner.

Vauxhall Astra

The Vauxhall Astra is a diesel car that is popular in the U.S.

The Astra has a spacious interior and a comfortable ride, making it an excellent choice for families.

It’s not as stylish as some of its competitors, and its infotainment system is not as user-friendly as others on the market.

Overall, the Astra is also very comfortable and practical, making it a great choice for everyday driving.

Our Favorite Petrol Option

Ford Puma Crossover

When it comes to crossovers, the Ford Puma is in a class of its own.

With its sleek design and impressive fuel economy, the Puma is perfect for city driving. But don’t be fooled by its size – the Puma can also take on rough terrain.

Thanks to its all-wheel drive, the Puma can handle any adventure you throw at it. And when it comes to safety, the Puma has you covered. With its advanced airbag system and blind-spot monitor, the Puma will help keep you safe on even the most challenging roads.

So whether you’re looking for a crossover that’s stylish or tough, the Ford Puma will exceed your expectations.

Benefits Of Choosing An Electric Vehicle

  • Environmentally-friendly: With zero tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions coming from a fully electric car, and dramatically reduced tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions from a hybrid car, electric cars are now considered more eco-friendly than their gas-guzzling counterparts. Just ensure that you recharge your electric car with green energy sources.
  • Cheaper to maintain and run: Electric cars have far fewer moving parts than gasoline cars, meaning fewer things can go wrong. In addition, electric cars don’t require oil changes, tune-ups, or new spark plugs.
  • Quieter ride: One of the best things about electric cars is that they’re nearly silent when operating. So if you’re looking for a peaceful ride, an electric car is the way to go.
  • No congestion charges and free parking: Electric cars are exempt from congestion charges in some cities. And in many cases, you can park your electric car for free.
  • Fuel efficient: Electric car manufacturers push the technology every year, making newer electric cars more fuel efficient than gas cars. Some of the most fuel efficient vehicles on the planet are battery-powered.

We Need To Address Battery Waste

As mentioned in my electric bike article, battery waste can be an issue.

We need to continue developing better battery recycling programs to reduce the amount of waste generated by electric vehicles.

I believe that the benefits of electric vehicles far outweigh the negatives caused by battery issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Does An Eco-Friendly Car Work?

Most eco-friendly cars work by replacing the use of fossil fuels (gasoline) with a more renewable source. This alternative energy source is usually electricity from a battery, but other options include:

  • Compressed air
  • Hydrogen fuel cells
  • Natural gas
  • Ethanol
  • Biofuels made from corn oil

Is A Hybrid An Environmentally Friendly Car?

Yes, for the most part, plug-in hybrid vehicles can be classed as eco-friendly. However, you do need to be careful. Due to the extra weight from the batteries, more power is required to move a hybrid car. If the ICE is not efficient, it might be more eco-friendly to go for a standard or fully electric.

What Is ICE Vehicle?

ICE stands for Internal Combustion Engine and usually refers to a car powered solely by a gasoline engine…no battery or other assistance. Internal combustion engines are now widely seen as outdated and not keeping with an energy-efficient economy.

How Do I Keep My Annual Fuel Cost Down For My Car?

Some top tips for keeping your annual fuel cost down include:

  • Make sure your tires are correctly inflated
  • Avoid accelerating too quickly
  • Plan your trips in advance
  • Drive less
  • Keep your car in good shape
  • Avoid idling for long periods

The Final Word

The eco-friendly car market is booming. This article was initially going to be a top 5, but it quickly escalated.

Like it or not…electric vehicles are the future of transportation!

They’re more efficient, and they help preserve the environment.

Electric vehicles also save you money in the long run because you don’t have to pay for gas, and the general running costs are lower.

However, the initial cost is still high, and the infrastructure for electric vehicles is still being developed.

I believe now is the right time to switch to an electric vehicle. However, if you’re still hesitant, I totally understand.

One day all gasoline cars will be a thing of the past. Fortunately, for now, eco-friendly gasoline options still remain available to you if you prefer.

Get In Touch

Have you made the switch to an electric vehicle? Are you thinking about buying an electric vehicle soon? Or do you intend to stick with gasoline for as long as you can? Drop me a line and let me know.

James is a senior editor at The Roundup and has been in journalism for over 10 years. He was born in the UK but raised in Florida, where he currently lives with his wife and two daughters. James is passionate about sustainable living and environmental issues which are reflected by his work as an editor of TheRoundup.org.
James Miller
James is a senior editor at The Roundup and has been in journalism for over 10 years. He was born in the UK but raised in Florida, where he currently lives with his wife and two daughters. James is passionate about sustainable living and environmental issues which are reflected by his work as an editor of TheRoundup.org.

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