12 Worst Cars for the Environment
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In a perfect world, everyone would embrace driving electric or at least hybrid vehicles. However, that is certainly not the case. Although many fuel-efficient cars are on the road today, there are also many less-than-eco-friendly options. As long as people continue to buy them, they will sadly remain available. Here are the 12 worst cars for the environment. Be sure to steer clear.
Determining the Worst of the Worst
Every year, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) compiles its GreenerCars ratings based on an environmental damage index. It measures each vehicle’s cost to human health from pollution associated with manufacturing and disposal, tailpipe emissions, and producing and distributing fuel and electricity. The resulting green score shows how eco-friendly a car is and runs from zero to 100.
The Meanest List of Worst Cars for the Environment
In every list, something always comes in last place. Here are the worst cars for the environment in 2023 based on ACEEE’s findings. The Environmental Damage Index (EDX) is based on cents per mile.
1. RAM 1500 TRX 4×4
The RAM 1500 TRX 4×4 is the least environmentally friendly vehicle. This gas-guzzling pickup truck gets a mere 10 mpg in the city and 14 mpg on the highway. It has a 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat V-8 engine with 702 horsepower and can go from 0-60 mph in around 4.5 seconds, which might sound impressive but causes 16 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year. Its low fuel economy and high emissions make it a nonstarter among eco-conscious drivers.
2. Ford F150 Raptor R 4WD
The F150 Raptor R 4WD’s supercharged engine rapidly burns through gasoline. Drivers get a paltry 10 mpg in the city and 15 mpg on the highway. This truck puts out 16 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, ranking it among the worst cars for the environment.
3. Cadillac Escalade V AWD
This luxury SUV will set you back approximately $150,000, but the environmental cost is much greater. It only gets 11 mpg in the city and 16 mpg on the highway, putting out 15 tons of greenhouse gas emissions yearly. Considering that nearly 29% of America’s emissions derive from the transportation sector, you can put your money to better use.
4. Dodge Durango SRT AWD
The Dodge Durango SRT AWD features a supercharged engine that packs 710 horsepower, and the company markets it as a cross between an SUV and a muscle car. It puts out 14 tons of greenhouse gas emissions and gets 12 mpg in the city and 17 mpg on the highway.
5. Jeep Wrangler 4dr 4×4
This vehicle can take you off-road but is off the charts regarding environmental damage. The 13 mpg city and 17 mpg highway mileage won’t get you very far on your adventures, and the 14 tons of greenhouse gas emissions it releases damages the forests it traverses.
6. Jeep Grand Wagoneer 4×4
Jeep gets the dubious distinction of making the meanest list twice. The Grand Wagoneer 4×4 has three rows of seating and room for eight passengers but only gets 13 mpg in the city and 18 on the highway. It emits 13 tons of greenhouse gases each year.
7. Mercedes-Benz G 550
Here’s another expensive luxury vehicle with a high environmental cost. This status symbol gets a paltry 13 mpg in the city and 16 mpg on the highway. It puts out 13 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year, making drivers of this vehicle look bad when they think they look good.
8. BMW X5 M
BMW’s high-performance luxury SUV emits 13 tons of greenhouse gases and only gets 13 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway. The paltry fuel efficiency makes it costly for the environment as well as for drivers.
9. Ford Bronco Raptor 4WD
The Ford Bronco was brought back in 2021 after being out of production for 25 years, but it’s not doing the environment any favors. The Raptor 4WD has a V-6 engine with 418 horsepower but only gets 15 mpg in the city and 16 mpg on the highway. It also emits 13 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
10. Chevrolet Silverado 4WD ZR2
The ZR2 Silverado model is supercharged and designed for off-roading but does Mother Nature no favors. Its 6.2-liter V-8 engine gets 14 mpg in the city and 17 on the highway and puts out 13 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
11. BMW S6 M
This all-wheel drive luxury SUV uses premium gasoline, which will cost you a pretty penny considering it only gets 13 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway. The high-performance vehicle puts out 13 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
12. Dodge Charger SRT Widebody
The Dodge Charger SRT Widebody rounds out the list of the worst cars for the environment. It’s a muscle car that takes its fists to Mother Nature, considering the 13 tons of greenhouse gases it emits each year. The 12 mpg city and 21 mpg highway mean it has style but little substance.
The Cleanest, Greenest Car
There are a lot of gas guzzlers out there that are less than eco-friendly. However, take heart that many options keep the environment top of mind. According to the ACEEE Greenest list, there is a clear winner: the Mini Cooper SE Hardtop EV, with an EDX of .66 and a score of 67.
Rounding out the list of greenest cars are the Nissan Leaf, Mazda MX-30, Toyota Bz4x, Subaru Solterra AWD, Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Blue, Kia Niro FE, Toyota Camry Hybrid LE, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Blue, Toyota Corolla Hybrid, Lexus NX 450 h+ AWD, and Hyundai Kona electric. These vehicles provide hope for the future.
Steer Clear the Worst Cars for the Environment
Eco-conscious drivers should avoid these 12 worst cars for the environment. There are better options out there that come at a much lower cost to Mother Nature and to you since you won’t be shelling out so much for gas. Take to the road with a clear conscience and a clean, green ride.
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About the author
Starting from an early age, Jane Marsh loved all animals and became a budding environmentalist. Now, Jane works as the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co where she covers topics related to climate policy, renewable energy, the food industry, and more.