Most cars are labelled ‘green’ based on their tailpipe CO2 emissions. This means the amount of polluting CO2 emitted by the car per kilometre travelled.
All cars with CO2 emissions underneath 100g/km are eligible for zero road tax in the UK and exempt from the London congestion charge under new rules which came into effect in 2011.
However, eco-car website nextgreencar.com believes rating a car on CO2 emissions alone is not enough. It has created a scoring system out of 100 (with 0 being the greenest) based on the whole lifecycle of the vehicle.
This includes the environmental impact of building the car and the impact of creating the fuel for the car. Interestingly, it also assesses other types of exhaust emissions such as nitrous oxide, methane and carbon monoxides.
For example, a diesel engine may have lower CO2 emissions than a petrol, but it also might create more particulates and nitrous oxides – meaning it will score lower on the Green Car Rating.
With this in mind, six more models have been added to the NGC approved list. The list is designed to highlight the best green cars available and features over one hundred models.
The first model on the list is the British-built Vauxhall Astra Sport Tourer 1.3 CDTi. The diesel estate version of the popular family car emits CO2 emissions of 109g/km – enough to qualify for band C of road tax and zero first year road tax.
However, it also scored 31 on the Green Car Rating, which is enough to put the model on the NGC approved list based on its entire life cycle impact.
Another diesel model joined the Vauxhall on the list, and it may come as a surprise to some. The Ford C-Max is a people carrier capable of transporting five (and some luggage) in comfort. Better still, the larger, seven-seat Ford Grand C-Max is also included.
MPVs are not generally known for their green credentials but the C-Max and Grand C-Max are fitted with Ford’s 1.6-litre, efficient Duratorq diesel engine to bring CO2 emissions and fuel consumption down.
They are joined by another MPV, the Fiat Qubo 1.3-litre MultiJet 95. The Qubo is notable because it has the lowest CO2 emissions in the MPV class at 112g/km and according to the NGC approved list, is the greenest MPV in the UK.
The other three cars to make the list include the Hyundai i10, Saab 9-3 saloon and SportWagon versions and the Skoda Yeti Greenline – Skoda’s eco signature to indicate particularly frugal models.
If you want to know more about the cleanest and greenest cars around, take a look at Perrys’ guide to green cars.