• KBB's list included five hybrids and two EVs
  • Valuation experts gave top spot to new Toyota Prius C
  • KBB says list is especially timely in the wake of rising gas prices

As gas prices rise, car shoppers are focusing on more fuel-efficient vehicles - and a new list from Kelley Blue Book may help them find the right one. The automotive analytics firm recently named its 10 best green cars of 2012, listing several of today's top environmentally friendly car choices based on fuel efficiency, value, features and comfort.

Not surprisingly, Kelley Blue Book's list of the top green cars prominently features several hybrids. Half of the vehicles on the list are either hybrids or offer a hybrid version, including the recently released Toyota Prius C - Kelley Blue Book's top choice. Other listed models with hybrid powertrains include the Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid that KBB ranked number four, the Honda Civic Hybrid, the Lexus CT200h and the brand new Chevrolet Malibu Eco, which took the number nine spot.

But Kelley Blue Book also honored several conventionally powered vehicles known for impressive fuel economy within their classes. The recently released Scion iQ, which boasts the best fuel economy among non-hybrid models, finished tenth on KBB's list, while the subcompact Hyundai Elantra took seventh place. Kelley Blue Book also named the Volkswagen Passat TDI sixth place on its list, specifically citing the sedan's diesel engine for its impressive highway fuel economy of up to 43 miles per gallon.

Also included in Kelley Blue Book's list were the fully electric Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV, which finished second and third respectively. In both cases, analysts cited surprisingly reasonable pricing and livable ranges as major reasons to choose the electric models over their gas-powered competition.

"Auto manufacturers are responding with more robust offerings in the 'Green Car' segment than ever before," said Jack Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com. "Our annual kbb.com 10 Best Green Cars list provides a roadmap for consumers who are looking for a new car to not only help save money on fuel expenses, but also to help save the Earth."

Kelley Blue Book says this year's list is especially timely considering a recent upswing in gas prices. According to the American Automobile Association, the average gallon of regular gas costs around $3.90 nationwide - an increase of more than 50 cents over the average price at the beginning of the year.

What it means to you: Kelley Blue Book's list is a good roadmap for car shoppers unsure about which "green" car to purchase.

author photo

Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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