As gas prices rise at the pump it's no wonder many Americans have a headache when paying for their gas-guzzling vehicle. Instead of taking a pain reliever, why not look at car options where the grass is greener on the other side?
Although many consumers worry that cost and maintenance of these vehicles is too high, you don't necessarily have to go hybrid or electric to save money. They are plenty of green alternatives that will save you money without breaking the bank.
Other great reasons why consumers choose to drive green is for mileage, lower emissions and tax incentives. You have also probably noticed a unique looking vehicle while driving on the freeway only to learn that it is environmentally friendly.
Want to turn some heads and save with your next new vehicle? Here are five green cars you could be driving by 2012 ...
No. 5: Nissan Versa sedan
With a futuristic look and incredible fuel economy, the Nissan Versa is a sedan that will have you looking it from all different angles and vice versa.
The Versa was first introduced to the U.S. in July 2006. According to Nissan, the 2011 model gets 38 mpg highway and 30 mpg city with automatic or manual transmission.
With a 1.6L engine and 4-cylinders, it's the first vehicle in the U.S. to use Pure Technology, which reduces the CO2 emissions and improves the fuel economy. The Versa's steering power also takes its energy from the battery to increase fuel efficiency and engine performance. Its engine components also reduce friction. For safety, it has fast-responsive brakes.
Depending on the three sedan models to choose from, the Versa also features front wheel drive, Bluetooth, a navigation system and an adapter to plug in an iPod.
Starting at $10,990, it's a steal.
No. 4: Subaru Impreza
As the most fuel-efficient all-wheel drive car in the U.S., according to Subaru, it's no wonder the Subaru Impreza Sedan makes an impact on buyers.
Introduced in 1993, the Impreza is on its fourth generation. Starting at $17,495, the 4-door sedan can get up to 36 mpg highway and 27 mpg city, according to Subaru.
Not only does it sit low to improve handling, but features a 2.0L, 4-cylinder boxer engine to provide balance, power and fuel efficiency. The 2012 Impreza is the first model also clean enough to earn the Partial Zero-Emission Vehicle (P-ZEV), according to The Car Connection.
The Impreza is available in 4-door and 5-door models, manual or automatic. The Impreza also features seven airbags, traction control, a navigation system and XM Satellite Radio. It was named a 2011 Top Safety Pick from the Institute For Highway Safety.
Now that makes an impression.
No. 3: Hyundai Accent
The 2012 Hyundai Accent accents itself by being expressive and distinctive.
Introduced in 1995, the Accent gets 40 mpg highway and 30 mpg city whether it's manual or automatic. With the automatic models, an Active ECO System is installed that modifies engine and transmission control for improved fuel economy. Tests show that the system provides up to a 7 percent improvement in fuel economy over vehicles without the ECO System, according to Hyundai.
Starting at $14,195, the Accent comes in three different models (4 or 5-door), all with a 1.6L, 4-cylinder GDI engine. The variable valve the engine has also helps improve torque and enhances fuel efficiency.
The Accent also provides six airbags, power steering, electronic stability control, ABS, traction control, and features an iPod adapter, Bluetooth and XM Radio.
What a way to show off!