Tesla Model S Is SoCal's AAA Top Green Vehicle Of 2014

This year's edition of the AAA Automotive Club of Southern California Green Car Guide ranked the all-electric Tesla Model S P85 as the best green machine money can buy these days. More than 80 other low-polluting and fuel-efficient cars are featured in the latest 140-page long AAA report.
Tesla Model S 1 photo
Photo: Tesla
Even though the Model S has a respectable 265-mile range, some might find the long time it takes to fully re-charge the Tesla plug-in luxury sedan with the standard 240-volt charger a tad annoying. “Nonetheless, the Model S was our top-scoring vehicle this year by a wide margin." declared Steve Mazor, the AAA Automotive Research Center Manager and Chief Engineer.

In the AAA Green Car Guide 2014, the top-ranking Tesla Model S P85 is closely followed by the Toyota RAV4 EV, Audi A7 TDI quattro Tiptronic, Lexus GS 450h and Nissan Leaf. If you factor in the price as well, then the best value green machine are as follows: Chevrolet Spark 1LT, Hyundai Elantra GLS, Nissan Versa SV, Scion iQ and Nissan Versa Note SV.

Compared to the quite expensive Tesla Model S P85, the Chevrolet Spark 1LT city-dweller is priced under $15,000 and averages nearly 30 miles per gallon, making it a pretty affordable eco-friendly machine. However, Mazor's heart has been won by the Palo Alto-based manufacturer's car: "The Tesla Model S is an incredible car. It’s the fastest green car we’ve ever tested: it rides and handles very well; it’s extremely quiet and stops on a dime."

AAA's Automotive Research Center Green Car Guide highlights consumer-friendly data and real-world evaluations to help car buyers in the market for eco-friendly vehicles. The selection process evaluates emission levels, fuel economy, crashworthiness, braking, acceleration, handling, cargo capacity, ride quality, ease of entry and exit, roominess, maneuverability and interior noise levels. Each vehicle included in the Green Car Guide is scored from one to 10 for each of the aformentioned qualities.

According to the 2014 edition of the AAA Green Car Guide, passenger cars sold in the United States have an average fuel economy of 25.4 mpg, an 11.5 mpg increase since 1975. The Automobile Association of America also reports that switching from a 20-mpg car to one that averages 25 mpg could save you $500 annually in fuel costs, while taking a step further to a 50-mpg car could save you as much as $1,600 per year.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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