The 12 Cars That Pollute The Most

Source: Grafissimo / E+ via Getty Images

As the threats from climate change loom larger, many carmakers are offering more fuel-efficient vehicles, including hybrids and electrics. However, several of these companies are still making vehicles that rapidly burn through massive quantities of gasoline.

Average emissions from new vehicles have dropped significantly over the past four decades, but the most egregious gas guzzlers are lagging behind when it comes to fuel efficiency. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average passenger vehicle emits around 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. The least fuel-efficient vehicles average more than triple that.

To find the least fuel-efficient cars for 2023, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed ratings of 2023 model year cars based on the report GreenerCars 2023: Efficiency and Weight — Not Just Electric vs. Gas — Shape Environmental Impact. is part of the nonprofit research organization American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Cars are ranked based on the Green Score, which runs on a scale from 0 to 100, with 100 being least polluting and 0 most polluting. The environmental damage index reflects the cost to human health from all emissions in cents per mile.

The least fuel-efficient vehicles (that are not super luxury like Bugatti or Ferrari) are muscle cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks. Larger, heavier vehicles naturally take more energy to operate and generally consume more gasoline. Vehicles with high performance combustion engines also need a massive amount of power, which equates to burning a lot of fuel.

The least fuel-efficient vehicles are not cheap to purchase or run. Almost all are recommended to use premium gasoline, and most have MRSPs of $70,000 or more. Many of these vehicles have similar, more fuel-efficient models, including hybrid and electric models. (Here is every major automaker’s plan to go electric)

The vehicles with the absolute worst fuel efficiency are the SUVs and pickup trucks that have supercharged engines. These heavy vehicles use a tremendous amount of gas to produce rapid acceleration, high speeds, and considerable torque. (These are the most fuel efficient full-size SUVs)

Click here to see the worst new cars for humans and the environment. 

Click here to see our detailed methodology.