Cooking, using bug sprays, using electricity- there are plenty of everyday human activities that continuously harm the environment. Driving a car is one of the most problematic. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency states that the air toxics released by automobiles account for about half of the cancers in humans related to air toxics.

BMW i3 The Best Eco Friendly Cars for 2015
Image: bmw.com

Not only does it hurt the environment, the fuel prices also hurt the car owner’s wallet. This is why more automakers are also focusing on fuel economy, which is what the new generation of car buyers is after. And although the initial investment needed is still quite high right now, electric cars offer significantly more savings in the long run.

It’s 2015 and eco-friendly cars are gradually gaining ground in the consumer market. These are cars that may be run by electricity, have excellent fuel economy, or both. Without further ado, here are some of the best eco-friendly cars that you can own, use, and maintain more affordably:

Nissan Leaf

The appropriately-named Nissan Leaf is on top of the list mainly because it is a car that runs purely on electricity while still performing like any regular compact. This 4-door hatchback has a lot of surprises for its size. It handles and accelerates so impressively well that you might forget you’ll need to recharge it soon. Additionally, it recharges its battery with grid power.

The Nissan Leaf, as well as other electric cars or electric vehicles (EV), also saves you more money – about 50% of what you would spend on a gasoline car. For example, running 100 miles will cost only $1-8 with an electric car, whereas a gasoline car would cost about $16.

Given its name, Nissan pretty much cemented their “green” intentions with the Leaf by launching the Nissan Zero Emission Fundin Japan, which granted credits to Nissan Leaf owners proportional to the carbon dioxide emissions they saved by driving the car.

Chevrolet Volt

The Chevrolet Volt is a hybrid that can cover about 50 miles when running on electricity before it resorts to gas. During which, the battery recharges to give you some extra miles later on. This sedan is another one of those eco-friendly cars that perform well and reliably. It may not be that powerful, but the difference in acceleration against other gas-powered cars is negligible.

It is also worth noting that the Volt looks splendid for a hybrid car. It is streamlined and comfortable with its 5 seats. However, it may not be the cheapest vehicle among the cars in this list. This is why you should set the Volt’s price tag as the highest range you should go (the Volkswagen e-Golf is priced roughly the same).

Toyota Prius

The Prius returns with its latest 2015 model. It has more features, better performance, and is a lot better-looking while retaining its iconic shape. One of the significant advantages of Toyota Prius over its class is its exceptional economy.

It also has 3 additional driving modes (in addition to regular driving) thathelp the driver find a ‘sweet spot’ between fuel economy and power. These modes are EV, ECO, and POWER. The first mode (EV) allows the vehicle to run entirely on electricity. ECO focuses on maximizing gas mileagethrough fuel usageand temperature control. Lastly, POWER is for drivers who want to see what a hybrid car can do.

There are plenty of other cars from this automaker that are fuel efficient such as the Toyota Wigo, Toyota Corolla LE Eco, and Toyota Altis. Philippines, Indonesia, and other developing countries in particular have a large market for these Toyotas due to the high fuel prices and existing traffic problems.

Volkswagen e-Golf

The Volkswagen e-Golf is considered as one of the best electric cars in the market as of 2015. Based on its maneuverability, acceleration, and driving comfort,you can say that Volkswagen pulled it off with their first attempt on an all-electric car.And thanks to German engineering, the e-Golf is considered by many as the best handling electric car today.

Furthermore, the e-Golf is rated by the EPA as the most efficient electric car in its class (including the ones in this list). While it clearly shines in almost every aspect that makes electric cars special, it does take several seconds before it reaches full highway speed. But then again, eco-friendly cars are not about speed – they’re about practicality.

Special Mentions

There are plenty of other economic cars that are still available in the market:

  • Nissan Versa Note
  • Mazda 3
  • Kia Soul Electric
  • Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid
  • BMW i3

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