Just Kidding! Five Cars That Aren't as Green as You Think

For the convenience of operating an automobile, there is a significant environmental penalty. It's as simple as that, and there's really no getting around it. From the mining of raw materials all the way through the energy required to recycle a car at the end of its usable life, driving requires massive amounts of energy, most of which is in the form of fossil fuels. So, there aren't really such a thing as "green cars," any more than there is such a thing as clean coal. Yet, auto manufacturers and their ad agencies would like to convince you otherwise, reaping financial benefits at the intersection of Guilt and Pretentiousness. BoldRide offers five automobiles that have claimed to be saving kittens and emitting nothing but good vibes and daisy petals, yet still contribute to our dependence on fossil fuels and a seriously flawed infrastructure:

Just Kidding! Five Cars That Aren't as Green as You Think

Ford Fusion Hybrid - The Fusion is a bold step forward in design and function for Ford, but the Hybrid variant took its share of lumps as a "green car" soon after its initial launch. In December of 2012, Ford’s hybrid Fusion sedan and C-Max wagon fell significantly short of the company’s fuel economy claims, according to tests by Consumer Reports magazine. The sedan and C-Max wagon were both rated at 47 mpg city, but Consumer Reports testing pegged the Fusion at 39 mpg and the C-Max at 37 mpg during its testing last year. Any 2012 or 2013 Hyundai and/or Kia - Hyundai and Kia were both beneficiaries of a lot of feel-good marketing last year, thanks to some extraordinary fuel economy ratings in its vehicles. On average, Hyundia and Kia models over reported fuel economy by one to two miles per gallon. Some models -- like the ostensibly economical Soul Eco -- saw a 3 mpg decrease in city mileage after an investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency. On the highway, the 2.0-liter Soul Eco lost 6 miles per gallon, or about $1,600 during the five years most Americans keep their cars.

Just Kidding! Five Cars That Aren't as Green as You Think

Honda Element - The Element has been out of production for a few years now, but owners were typically outdoorsy environmental types, secure in the knowledge that by buying a Honda festooned with Reduce, Reuse, Recycle decals, they were somehow contributing to the betterment of society. The only problem was that the Element offered abysmal fuel economy for a gutless four-cylinder. Four-wheel drive Elements provided combined fuel economy ratings as low as 20 mpg, just one MPG better than a V-8-powered Lincoln Town Car, and just 2 mpg shy of the portly eight cylinder Volvo XC90. Honda CR-Z - Somehow, the CR-Z ends up at the top of FuelEconomy.gov's Best Fuel Economy list for two-sweaters, with a combined fuel economy rating of 37 mpg. But that fuel economy is almost exactly the same as the much more useful and fun-to-drive Jetta Sportwagon TDI. The secondary bonus with the TDI is that it retains its value over time unlike any other vehicle sold. You can't say that about the CR-Z.

Just Kidding! Five Cars That Aren't as Green as You Think

All Electric Cars, Depending On Your Location - part of the frustration with comparing electric cars to internal combustion vehicles in terms of emissions is the source of power used to charge them. Gasoline is refined pretty much the same way whether you live in Denver or Portland, Maine. But depending on where you live, electricity comes from a wide range of sources ranging from biomass to water power to nuclear and good old filthy coal. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists in a report last year, whether or not an electric car has an impact on greenhouse gas emissions is largely dependent on your power grid, rather than the car you choose. EVs charged by the dirtiest power grids (generally those located in the middle of the country) offer emissions equivalent to conventionally powered automobiles that turn in as low as 33 mpg. For more information on the Union of Concerned Scientists' report, visit the Union of Concerned Scientists site regarding clean vehicles.

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