2010 Hybrid Cars for Best Mileage and Lowest Carbon Footprint

By John Addison (updated 12/4/09)

2010 Toyota PriusToyota Prius continues to lead hybrid cars in fuel economy and lowest lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions. This perennial favorite midsize 4-door hatchback delivers 50 miles per gallon (mpg) and is lowest on the list with 3.7 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent for the EPA annual driving cycle. Yes, 3.7 tons of CO2e is a lot; but many cars, light trucks, and SUVs create three times that emission; to get lower emissions you would need a plug-in car. The hatchback design allows for more cargo, especially if you drop part or all of the 60/40 back bench seat. This year, Toyota is also putting 500 plug-in Priuses into fleet tests of electric cars. Read the details in the 2010 Toyota Prius Review.

2010 Honda Civic HybridHonda Civic Hybrid is a good alternative for those who want a traditional looking sedan that seats 5. This front-wheel drive compact saves fuel at 42 mpg. At 4.4 annual tons of CO2e, this hybrid emits actually emits less greenhouse gases than its CNG cousin. Civic Hybrid Review.

2010 Honda InsightHonda Insight is a sporty four-door hatchback with an Ecological Drive Assist System. Although the Insight looks like the Prius, it is a bit smaller, lighter, and often $2,000 less than the Prius. The Insight will deliver 41 mpg combined, with annual emissions of about 4.5 tons of CO2e. Read about our 2010 Honda Insight Test Drive.

Ford Fusion Hybrid is appealing to those who want a made in America midsized sedan. 2010 Ford Fusion HybridThis roomy 5-seater delivers 39 mpg and 4.7 tons of CO2e per year. The Fusion Hybrid and its first cousin the Mercury Milan Hybrid may travel up to 47 miles per hour in pure electric mode. The Advanced Intake Variable Cam Timing allows for more seamlessly transition between gas and electric modes, making for a smooth and quiet ride. The Mercury Milan Hybrid offers the same drive system and body, with upscale interior. Read about Clean Fleet Report’s Fusion Hybrid test drive.

2010 Lexus HS250hLexus HS 250h is a stylish compact 5-seat sedan that delivers 35 mpg and 5.3 tons of CO2e per year. The Lexus brand lets your friends know that are using less petroleum by choice; you can afford a bit of luxury. Lexus HS 250h Review  Lexus HS 250h Test Drive


Nissan Altima Hybrid also delivers good mileage for a midsize, benefiting from Nissan’s2010 Nissan Altima Hybrid continuously variable transmission technology. The EPA rating is 5.4 tons of CO2e for the EPA annual driving cycle and a combined 34 mpg.

2010 Toyota Camry HybridToyota Camry Hybrid delivers good mileage for a midsize with an automatic transmission. The EPA rating is 5.4 tons of CO2e for the EPA annual driving cycle and a combined 34 mpg.

Ford Escape Hybrid comfortably carries 5 people and lots of cargo. This SUV achieves a Ford Escape Hybridcombined 32 mpg and emissions of 5.7 tons of CO2e – double the mileage and half the emissions of many SUVs. The mileage is an impressive 29 mpg for the 4-wheel drive versions of this SUV. With a common drive system and chassis, the Mercury Mariner Hybrid delivers the same carbon footprint and mileage.

2010 Lexus RX450h SUVLexus RX 450h with more acceleration and room than the others,  costs more, starting at over $42,000. For a powerful SUV, it still conserves with 30 mpg and 6.1 tons of CO2e. Haul 5 people and lots of stuff without sacrificing quality and styling in the RX450h. The all wheel drive version has slightly better mileage than the Ford Escape Hybrid 4WD.

Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid looks and feels like the popular 5-seat Chevy Malibu,2010 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid but you will go farther on a tank of gas. This mild hybrid gets 29 miles per gallon, with 6.3 tons of CO2e per year emissions. This vehicle is only offered to government and corporate fleets. It was not displayed, for example, at the LA Auto Show.

Clean Fleet Report – Top 10 Hybrids for 2010

Your top 10 choices include hatchbacks that start at under $20,000 and stretch to roomy premium SUVs that cost over $40,000. If you are not too concerned with vehicle and annual fuel costs, there are a number of other 2010 hybrid SUVs on the market including the Toyota Highlander, Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra and Yukon, and the pricey and powerful Cadillac Escalade. The Silverado and Sierra are also available as hybrid pickup trucks.

Hybrid is no guarantee of saving at the pump. The Smart and the MiniCooper get double the mpg of some of the 2010 hybrid SUVs and pickup trucks.

The list includes only 2010 model year hybrids offered in the United States. For example, offered only in Japan, the new Toyota Sai will get better mileage than the Prius. Some of these 2010 models were announced early in 2009. Other 2010 models have yet to be announced. Major auto shows are coming so check back for the latest in hybrids that take away that pain at the pump and deliver a quiet ride.

This list was developed by first searching the U.S. EPA and DOE’s valuable fueleconomy.gov. The EPA combined miles per gallon rating is based on 45% highway and 55% city driving. The carbon footprint is carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) based on 15,000 miles of driving, using the GREET 1.7 model.

Battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles are not part of this list. Clean Fleet Report Electric Car Reports.

Hybrids are in demand now that oil prices have doubled since March. You may want to make the nation a bit more energy secure, make the world a little better, or just save fuel cost for years by making your next car a hybrid.

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About Author: John Addison

Founder of the Clean Fleet Report, author of Save Gas, Save the Planet. John writes about electric cars, renewable energy, and sustainability.

4 thoughts on “2010 Hybrid Cars for Best Mileage and Lowest Carbon Footprint

  1. John Addison
    October 9, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Thanks for visiting Clean Fleet Report and leaving some kind words. Yes, we try to create good reading with a clean look. It sounds like you understand good design.
    John Addison, Publisher.

  2. Bowling Green Car Dealership
    August 11, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    With gas prices only going to rise its a breath of fresh air to know that these production cars are getting more attention

  3. ditalia
    July 27, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Sorry to inform you all but my 1998 Honda Civic EX is easily capable of 35 mpg while commuting over a mountain every weekday. Also, if I coast on the down hill and drive economically I can achieve 40mpg.

    Hence, I won’t buy a hybrid until they are hitting upwards of 60 to 70 mpg. Don’t require replacement of an expensive battery pack for at least 150,000 miles (my Honda is pushing 150,000 miles requiring roughly $3500 for oil changes and a CV joint…all other repairs like brake pads, transmission fluid, windshield wipers, etc. would be a wash with a hybrid).

    It doesn’t make sense to add CO2, equivalent burning 1000 gallons petrol for a 5 or 10 mpg use increase. As pointed out in a Wired magazine article ) the top five cars would spend their first 100,000 miles paying for the CO2 used to make the car. The last five on the list would never break even…buy used, and spend the equivalent in Prius lease money making it more efficient!

  4. Ed
    April 21, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    It would appear that mining for battery production and shipment of cars from point of origin to the USA are not included in total carbon.

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