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Jun 242010
 

From Green Right Now Reports

In an effort to house all the info about efficient vehicles in one virtual garage, the Union of Concerned Scientists has created HybridCenter.org.

The Ford Fusion Hybrid achieves nearly 40 mpg.

At HybridCenter.org, you can read about hybrids, link to reviews of the latest models written by auto reviewers, find out about government rebates and most importantly, see which hybrids are the best value and least polluting vehicles in their class. The website scoops up all the pertinent information into a  scorecard that can help you find the cleanest cars — and should help keep the automakers honest.

“Consumers should know that the best hybrids deliver emissions reductions and fuel efficiency at an affordable price without compromising vehicle utility. Many hybrids, however, are loaded with forced features that inflate the sticker price; knowing which forced features come with a car may save you money and provide a bargaining tool at the dealership,” note the UCS authors of the scorecard.

The Hybrid Scorecard, for instance, rates the Ford Fusion Hybrid as having “high” hybrid value because  it gets great mileage (combined 39 mpg according to the EPA) and cuts emissions by nearly one-third compared with its non-hybrid counterpart. By contrast, Chevy’s Silverado gets a “low” rating for its hybrid value because more emissions reductions could have been squeezed out of the hybrid conversion. (The UCS, however, gives this vehicle a positive nod for being the first pickup of this size available as a hybrid.)

The UCS is an advocate for hybrid technology, because more efficient cars can help curb global warming. But the venerable scientists’ group isn’t out to promote hybrids at any cost. It wants to see the technology achieve the best results for the environment and not be perverted into a marketing or profiteering device that turns off potential adopters.

If consumers find good deals, and their car’s “hybrid technology is truly being used to maximize reductions in both global warming and smog-forming emissions,” then it’s all good.

This summer, the website is running a Green Travel Challenge asking readers to contribute their hybrid stories. The contest deadline is July 4, after which a drawing will be held for prizes that include a Garmin GPS and gift certificates to Southwest Airlines and Amtrak.

In the market for a hybrid? Sign up for the UCS newsletter (called The Pulse), to get updates.