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Be Green

Finding an eco-friendly car

There's a lot of greenwashing out there and the auto industry is no exception. If you're looking to buy a car, you might be surprised to learn that hybrids AREN'T necessarily the greenest option. In fact, there are cars out there that will give you a teenier footprint for LESS money!
Of course, I'm no car geek. So I brought in the cavalry. As in the APA. That's the Automobile Protection Association. They're a non-profit consumer advocacy organization that makes it their job to protect YOUR rights. So whether you're buying a car or trying to find a trustworthy mechanic, they're the folks you can turn to.
So you ready to find the greenest car on the market? George Iny of the APA has some good ideas.


He thinks that compacts and subcompacts are WAY GREENER than hybrids! And he's not alone.

According to the APA's research, your best bet is a USED ECHO.

2005 Toyota Echo Sedan $10 500
Automatic, A/C
Price w/taxes $11 851.88

This is because compacts tend to give you the best value for your money.
Here's how Iny explains it:
* The biggest component of your footprint is the gas you consume (so you want a fuel efficient car)
* 10-15% of the car's footprint comes from manufacturing
* Hybrids often consume more to produce and don't have the best emissions standards

So what should you do if you have an old rust-bucket that's a gas guzzler?
Hmm, tough question. Ideally, you would drive it less and supplement with public transport. But if that's not realistic, consider trading it in for a used Echo or a brand new Toyota Yaris or Honda Fit.

2009 Toyota Yaris Sedan (Automatic, Convenience Pkg) $17 040

Freight 1 220
A/C Tax 100
Tire Tax 15
Total before taxes $18 375

Total w/taxes $20 740.78

2009 Honda Fit DX-A (Automatic, A/C) $17 480
Freight 1 310
A/C Tax 100
Tire Tax 15
Total before taxes $18 905

Total w/taxes $21 339.12

The Yaris and the Fit are good value because:
* They aren't resource hogs on the production side
* They give great mileage
* They put out low emissions (so fewer greenhouse gases)
* They are reliable and so don't use your time and money for maintenance
* The money you save when you buy a compact instead of the pricier hybrids lets you make greener choices in other areas of your life.

If you have your heart set on a hybrid, Iny says the Prius is the market leader.

2009 Toyota Prius $ 27 710

Freight 1 370
A/C Tax 100
Tire Tax 15
Total before taxes 29 195

Total w/taxes $32 953.85

The Volkswagen Jetta is also an option... but remember, gasoline is cleaner burning than diesel.

2009 Volkswagen Jetta 2.0 Clean Diesel Trendline $24 275

Automatic $ 1 400
Freight $ 1 360
A/C Tax 100
Tire Tax 15
Total before taxes $27 150

Total w/taxes $30 645.56

So that's George Iny's advice. I want to know what YOU think. Do you worry about your car's footprint? Have you done anything to change how you get around? If you had your heart set on a different (less green) model of car, have you changed your mind? No? Why?
Tell me all! You can leave a comment or call our Talkback Line: (514) 597-5626

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