2014 AAA Green Car Guide Lists Tesla Model S #1


AAA announced that its Automobile Club of Southern California Automotive Research Center selected the Tesla Model S as its winner out of 83 “green” vehicles tested for its latest 2014 AAA Green Car Guide.

The Tesla Model S P85, the version tested here, crushed the competition.

You don’t have to take our word for it though.  Here’s a link to the 140-page detailed PDF put out by the Automobile Club of Southern California Automotive Research Center.  You must check it out, as it’s one of the most comprehensive “green” guides we’ve ever seen.

Hybrids, battery electric, compressed natural gas-powered, diesel, plug-in hybrid and all other types of “green” cars were tested.  Scores were given based on the criteria below:

Scoring Criteria

Scoring Criteria

And here are the scores for the 83 tested vehicles:



Scores Continued

Scores Continued

And a breakdown of the results for the Tesla Model S.

Tesla Model S Score

Tesla Model S Score

Each tested vehicle has a “breakdown” page similar to the Model S one shown above, so do please follow this PDF link to check out the guide in its entirety.  It’s pure awesomeness on your computer screen.  I assure you of that.

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16 Comments on "2014 AAA Green Car Guide Lists Tesla Model S #1"

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Reading between the lines:

After excluding luxury and compliance models, the Nissan Leaf is AAA’s top green car.

The runner-up, Honda Accord ICE hybrid, is somewhat of a semi-compliance model because it seems not to be widely available (not to mention its PHEV model which is virtually nonexistent).

Next one after these two is the Camry ICE hybrid.

AAA is known to be business-friendly, environmentally not very progressive, and shows a preference towards bigger more powerful cars (as this list suggests too).

Yet it, too, has to give Leaf the crown among cars available to ordinary people across the country.

It’s hard to put much faith in Consumer Report’s green car guide when it ranks the Chevy Volt 66th.

… and the Chevrolet Silverado 22 spots above that at #44, or Ford F-150 at #19. SMH.

Especially when the “Consumer Reports” Green Car Guide is actually AAA’s.

Well, given the prominence of Audi’s TDIs at the top it is clear the AAA has fallen hook, line, and sinker for the “clean diesel” marketing phrase.

But the real giveaway is that the Lexus hybrid is way, way, way, WAY above all the the Priuses. There is no freaking way a car from the same company running the same hybrid system with worse gas mileage because it has a much bigger ICE is the greener choice.

Keep in mind, AAA is the same organization that tried to argue that car driving is safer than flying by using accidents-per-vehicle-hours as the metric instead of passenger-miles.

Jeez, why did the Volt score so low?

Wow, just noticed that now. Very strange.

Makes the Leaf’s high ranking all the more impressive, as both these cars have been the favorite targets of EV-hostile analysts.

The scoring rubric is ridiculous for the purpose of comparing any vehicle for any purpose, much less to enlighten us which one is “greener”. All categories are given equal weight, even the ones that are irrelevant to how green a car is.

For example, a car that scores a big fat 0 on fuel efficiency and emissions but averages 8.64 or better on the remaining 11 categories will outscore the Model S and would be #1 on this list. Doesn’t pass the smell test, if you ask me.

Wow, the Chevrolet Silverado is above the Chevrolet Volt in score, #44 vs #66???. How can the Volt not be in the top 10?

Something is definitely wrong with the metrics used.

should top the regular car guide as well

I am glad to see AAA actually putting out the report and providing some valuable suggestions on ways to drive that improve your fuel economy. Since no one car can be all things to all people, it is a difficult thing to create single number without some type of bias. While I disagree with the way this was scored, this is significant progress for AAA, even if it does give allot of false impressions such as full sized pickups being “greener” than the Volt.

Obviously their rankings are biased towards larger vehicles. For example, the Silverado and the Volt both scored a 6 for EPA emissions with the Ford F-150 beating them both with a 7. Part of this is the way they awarded 2 additional points for using “regular” as apposed to premium fuel. More significantly, it seems that the full sized trucks were rated by category for some things like EPA emissions, but not for others like luggage capacity and interior size.

Remember, it’s a ranking of “green cars” not a ranking of the greenness of cars. Only two of the listed criteria dealt with greenness.

I downloaded and read the report on a few different cars, and they comments they make about Pros/Cons of each car do not match their # scores.

For example, look at the data for the Volt. They have the wrong MSRP. This is THEIR #’s for MPG (highest 67.7, lowest 43.0, average 51.5). However they gave the Volt a 4.55/10 on the fuel economy score? What?

Compare that to the Prius which had numbers of (47.3, 40.8, 43.9) and they gave it the highest rating for fuel economy, 10 out of 10.

This whole thing is silly IMO.

Model X will help with the turning radius as Elon said it will be pretty tight (think Mini) – likely due to braking the inner rear wheel on this AWD vehicle. Also entry and exit will be helped with the Model X.

Anything that burns gasoline, can’t be green.

“Automobile Club of Southern California Automotive Research Center”

AKA, an idiot club.