Q. Which green SUV should replace my old Honda CR-V? My 14-year-old CR-V may soon give up the ghost. It has 223,000 miles, and the transmission is acting up. I want my next car to be as green as possible and an SUV (Honda, Toyota, Subaru, etc.) The ones coming out in the near future aren't green enough. What should I do to bridge the gap?
A. When you say that the SUVs coming in the near future aren't green enough, we can't help but ask: compared to what?
The CR-V you're driving has EPA fuel economy estimates of 19/23 mpg city/highway (updated to the current methods of estimating mileage). The EPA also estimates your CR-V generates 8.9 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. That assumes your fuel and emissions systems are still working as well as they should, a long shot after 14 years and 223,000 miles.
Many current SUVs are greener than that. For example, the 2011 CR-V (2012 estimates aren't available) is rated 21/28 mpg, and the EPA estimates it will generate 7.8 tons of carbon dioxide per year. For a 2011 Subaru Forester, the fuel economy is 21/27 mpg with 8.1 tons of carbon dioxide annually. On a Toyota Highlander Hybrid, the mileage goes up to 28/28 mpg, and the carbon dioxide emission falls to 6.7 tons. The Ford Escape Hybrid is greener still, with mileage of 34/31 mpg and 5.8 tons of CO2 per year.
Even if those vehicles aren't as green as you would like, buying a new SUV now will increase your mileage, reduce your carbon footprint and get you behind the wheel of a safer, more reliable vehicle.
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