Los Angeles Times
CERTIFIED PRE-OWNED VEHICLES
MORE GREEN PER GALLON
Minimize your carbon footprint and maximize your budget with an eco-friendly CPO
Advances in automotive technology and increasingly stringent federal fuel-efficiency standards have meant that, in general, the “greenest” cars are the newest cars.
Unfortunately, not all of us can afford a shiny new ride.
So a late-model, fuel-efficient certified pre-owned vehicle might be many drivers’ most practical green choice. It offers a relatively small environmental footprint and the dependability of a low-mileage car but with a sticker price substantially below that of an equivalent new vehicle. It also comes with the reassurance of an extended warranty along with that reduced cost of ownership and eco-friendliness.
Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulations, first enacted by Congress in 1975, have become ever stricter. These standards have not only obliged automakers to squeeze more miles per gallon from traditional internal combustion engines but also to develop and refine mass-market hybrid gasolineelectric, all-electric and “clean diesel” vehicles.
Indeed, 23 of the models on the Automotive Science Group’s top 25 cars in life-cycle environmental performance (measured in life-cycle gross energy requirement and greenhouse gas emissions) for model-year 2014 are electrics and hybrids. But far from missing out on these planet-friendly marvels, CPO buyers can enjoy them for less.
While a new electric Nissan Leaf — which topped ASG’s list — has a base MSRP of $29,860, a CPO 2013 model with less than 27,000 miles was offered at a Los Angeles dealership for half that price as of press time. The runner-up on ASG’s Best 25, the Ford Focus Electric, starts at $29,170 new, but a certified 2012 model with 22,000 miles was available in L.A. for under $16K. The Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, which ASG placed third, has a base MRSP of $34,345, while a 2012 CPO model with only 19,200 miles was on offer locally for $16,500.
Similar deals are available on the most environmentally friendly gasoline cars, too. Scion’s tiny iQ, one of only two conventional combustion engine cars to make the ASG list, starts at $15,665 for a 2015 model, while certified models were available in L.A. for less than $8,000. Or a fuel-efficient mid-size car like the 38-mpg-highway Hyundai Sonata, which lists for at least $21,150 new, was available locally as an almost-as-efficient 2012 CPO unit for less than $11,000.