2008 Green Car Buyer's Guide
by Martha Hindes
People are recycling. Some college students are majoring in "sustainability" of the planet. Millions, it's estimated, turned off their lights for an hour recently to show they're truly earth friendly. So what does that have to do with automobiles?
Well, plenty these days. What might have seemed like a technological diversion not long ago is becoming mainstream at a gallop. Green autos that may have seemed out of place a couple of years ago are among the fastest growing trends in new vehicles.
Cars that at onetime signaled their environmentally-friendly nature with their quirky, sometimes jelly-bean shaped looks no longer have to flaunt such appearances to gain respect. As more and more consumers opt for lower emissions and above all for better mileage as gasoline prices continue to soar, it's not surprising there are many more fuel efficient and earth-friendly cars to choose from.
Going green doesn't mean one size fits all either, like the downsized two- or four-seat Honda Insight and Toyota Prius that helped start it all. Except for their hybrid logos, most new environmentally-friendly vehicles look exactly like the internal combustion powered ones they're replacing.
The year 2008 has brought a number of green vehicles to showrooms, with even more on the horizon for next year. And auto manufacturers are developing a variety of technologies -- from hybrid gas and electric, to alternative or flex-fuel, to "clean" diesels, pure electric, compressed natural gas and eventually fuel cell powered vehicles. With a vastly different driving future peeking over the horizon, we offer a variety of choices to help earth-conscious drivers get there.
2008 Earth Angel Award