BOSTON (MainStreet) Whether you're looking to increase the amount of "green" on the planet or just in your wallet by reducing your gasoline consumption, here's a look at 2014's most eco-friendly automobiles.
"Consumers are becoming more savvy in understanding what a given car can offer in fuel benefits, and I think auto manufacturers are responding by providing a large array of [eco-friendly cars]," says Shruti Vaidyanathan of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, which recently released its 17th annual Greenest Vehicles list.
The ACEEE compiled this year's rundown by estimating how much pollution every 2014 model sold in America will create over the vehicle's lifetime -- not just on the road, but also during the car's construction and eventual disposal.
Vaidyanathan says consumers who buy eco-friendly models not only create less air pollution, but help make green cars more popular and encourage manufacturers to develop even-cleaner offerings.
"One more green-car sale might not make much of a difference to the environment in the grand scheme of things, but if you're helping to create a buying trend, that's significant," she says.
Read on for a rundown of the models that top of this year's greenest-car list.
Miles-per-gallon figures listed below reflect U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates, with "mpge" referring to "miles per gallon equivalent." That's how the EPA calculates fuel efficiency for electric cars, which use battery power rather than gasoline.
All vehicle weights refer to "equivalent test weights," the weight of a fully loaded vehicle plus 300 pounds to reflect occupants. Dollar figures refer to manufacturers' suggested retail prices for each model's base 2014 edition, including destination charges.