Burning just one gallon of gasoline creates 20 pounds of greenhouse gases — the leading contributor to climate change. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, highway vehicles emit 1.7 billion tons of greenhouse gases like CO2 each year, close to one-quarter or all greenhouse gas emitted in the United States each year.
Unlike other pollutants, CO2 cannot be filtered with technologies like the catalytic converter. The only way to reduce CO2 emissions is by burning less or different fuel. The vehicle an American chooses to drive is the largest factor in his or her contribution to climate change, according to the EPA.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed data obtained from the EPA’s 2017 Fuel Economy Guide. The least eco-friendly car is the special off-road model of the Mercedes-Benz G 550 4×4, which emits on average 829 grams of CO2 per mile.
Many of the least eco-friendly vehicles are high performance sports cars that are not intended for daily driving. However, because fuel is burned so quickly in many of these cars, even rare driving can release significant amounts of greenhouse gasses.
A Lamborghini Aventador creates almost five times as much CO2 per mile as the Hyundai Ioniq Blue — one of the most fuel efficient gasoline-only vehicles on the market. This is assuming the Lamborghini is never driven aggressively, which lowers the fuel efficiency of any car considerably.
After sports cars, SUVs and luxury vehicles dominate this list. Similar to high performance sports cars, these heavy SUVs and luxury vehicles tend to have very large engines, which in general consume more fuel.
A 2017 Toyota Sequoia 4WD FFV, for instance, averages only 14 miles per gallon and emits 632 grams of CO2 for every mile driven. Driven daily, a single Sequoia would release as much CO2 as four gasoline-powered Toyota Priuses each year.
To determine the least environmentally-friendly vehicles available in the United States, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed CO2 emissions per mile driven for over 1,200 vehicles with data from the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2017 Fuel Economy Guide datafile. To break ties between vehicles with equal CO2 emissions, we used fuel efficiency figures followed by annual fuel cost from the same dataset. We only considered the least environmentally-friendly vehicle within each model. For example, because the Maserati Granturismo Convertible releases more CO2 per mile than the Maserati Granturismo Coupe, the Convertible was selected for the ranking.
These are America’s least eco-friendly vehicles.