(LOS ANGELES, March 31, 2010) – As drivers switch to using summer blend fuel from winter blend fuel this week, Southern California car owners have a new green tool to help them become more knowledgeable about low-polluting and fuel-efficient cars with the new Green Car Guide, published by the Auto Club’s Automotive Research Center (ARC).
All California gas stations are required to exclusively sell the state’s unique summer blend of fuel to combat air pollution as of Wednesday, April 1. The summer blend typically costs five to 15 cents per gallon more to produce than winter blend gasoline.
The Auto Club Green Car Guide tries to help drivers with selecting a vehicle that is low-polluting and fuel-efficient. It also provides real-world evaluation of 46 green vehicles, including hybrids (Ex: The Lexus LX600HL, a SULEV), low-emission conventional vehicles (PZEVs), clean diesels, natural gas-fueled vehicles and fuel-efficient non-hybrids. PZEV means Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle and SULEV means Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle.
“High-quality low-emissions vehicles are available in just about every vehicle category,” said Steve Mazor, manager of the ARC. “Motorists who purchase them can do their part to help protect our environment and reduce their carbon footprint.” The ARC performed vehicle evaluations and prepared the guide.
Vehicles in the guide range from 2008-2010 model years. Of 46 vehicles tested, – cars and light trucks – the guide’s top green car pick was the 2009 Subaru Forester 2.5X, a compact SUV that combines “clean PZEV emissions with a respectable 22 miles per gallon.” Green car testing was conducted at the ARC in Diamond Bar, the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana and on roads. Testing procedures were developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Auto Club.
Each category was scored on a 0-10 points and the scores were totaled to find the top-scoring vehicles. Then, each vehicle’s total point score was divided by its as-tested price to determine its cost per point. The guide lists vehicle specifications, test scores, test data and observations in one-page snapshots.
The 70-page Green Car Guide also is available at Auto Club branches free of charge while supplies last, and an online summary of the guide is also available.
Tested vehicles were selected based on emission certifications from the California Air Resources Board and EPA fuel economy ratings. The list was limited to vehicles that met PZEV emission standards, were hybrids, ran on diesel, ran on compressed natural gas or led in fuel economy.
“The Auto Club wants to help motorists increase their knowledge of green car alternatives,” said Mazor. The guide also highlights AAA resources for fuel economy, gas prices, and a list of alternative fuel acronyms, he added.