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MotorWeek Video Transcript: 2007 Greenest Vehicles

Jessica Shea Choksey: A rising tide of public concern over green house gas emissions and global warming, as well as a desire to reduce oil imports, is pushing automakers to provide consumers with ever greener vehicle choices.

Fueling the issue and marking its tenth year, is the release of the 2007 list of Top Twelve Greenest and Meanest Vehicles as designated by the American council for an energy efficient economy.

This widely publicized guide urges buyers to compare vehicles on the basis of a green score – a measure that considers the impact of overall emissions and fuel efficiency as related to driver safety and the environment.

The higher the green score the more environmentally friendly the vehicle, based on the organization’s evaluation.

Taking top honors for this year’s greenest vehicles is Honda’s natural gas powered 2007 Honda Civic GX, followed by spots two and three, Toyota’s Prius and the Honda Civic Hybrid.

Other hybrids making the grade include the Nissan Altima Hybrid in fourth place, and the Toyota Camry hybrid in seventh position. The rest of the spots were filled by conventionally powered subcompact and compact cars.

It is important to note that the greenest vehicles on the list also have some of the best government fuel economy ratings as well as impressive energy impact scores for their petroleum reduction performance.

The lack of domestic brand vehicles on the list doesn’t mean Detroit isn’t trying. But rather that Asian imports still have a big edge in being more efficient and eco-friendly.

At the other end, a look at the top meanest vehicles on the environment is dominated by European entries. The Volkswagen Touareg TDI SUV took a dubious first place, followed by Mercedes’ GL320 CDI diesel utility, and the Supercar Lamborghini Murcielago. Full size trucks and SUVs from Ford, Dodge and Lincoln also made the list.

The arrival of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, and the big fuel economy gains provided by diesel engines, have yet to make an impression on the environmentalist, with five oil burners still appearing on the meanest list. We expect this to change as advanced diesel models become more common.

The organization hopes these lists will prompt consumers to consider how their next new car purchase might impact the environment.  And that’s it for this week’s MotorNews.