Okay, the economy is getting better; that's the good news. The bad news is that as economic activity increases, oil and fuel prices are increasing too. One way to counter that has an altruistic benefit as well - buying a green, environmentally friendly vehicle. Saving gasoline doesn't just save the planet, it also saves money. And perhaps the biggest news on that front this year is the fact that while hybrids still lead the pack in the fuel economy race and in overall "greenness," conventional vehicles are catching up on both fronts. At the same time, the diversity of hybrids continues to increase, so there are more choices and more competition for your precious dollar.
While this year's Top 10 Green Cars list includes several from last year's collection, it also includes a promising newcomer in the Volkswagen Golf TDI, one of the newest "clean diesels." It offers hybrid-like fuel efficiency without the complication, weight and expense of a big battery pack. Plus it offers the power and torque an enthusiast driver can get, well, enthusiastic about. The Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid, another addition to the list, demonstrates that SUV-like features like towing and cargo-carrying can co-exist with a hybrid powertrain. No, the Tahoe Hybrid doesn't offer Prius-style EPA fuel economy numbers, but it is substantially more efficient and Earth-friendly than its conventionally powered brethren.
While it would have been simple just to have ticked off the Top 10 vehicles in fuel efficiency and let it go at that, we again sought out a variety of vehicle types because not everyone who wants to get greener will have their transportation needs met by a small sedan. To be considered for the green Top 10, each vehicle was required to offer fuel economy and CO2 emissions superior to the bulk of vehicles in its class and at the same time provide all the safety, creature comforts and driving enjoyment that would make it pleasant to own.
Click through to see Kelley Blue Book's Top 10 Green Cars for 2010, presented in order of combined EPA-estimated fuel economy.