Los Angeles Times



- — PAUL ROGERS Brand Publishing Writer

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.

 ??  ?? A pair of gas-sipping Scion iQs
A pair of gas-sipping Scion iQs

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