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Green goddess: Best cars for eco-friendly gals

Elaina is a Phoenix-based freelance writer, blogger and co-founder of the Kidlee baby book app. Check out her blog, Fun Finds For Mom, for product reviews, recipes and fun activities for moms and kids.

Green machines

The auto shows are in full swing, and car makers are showing off their hot new hybrids and breakthrough electric vehicles. With some cars topping 100 mpg in electric mode, who wouldn't want one of these sexy green machines?

Hybrid vehicles

BMW 3 series hybrid

2013 BMW ActiveHybrid3
Starting Price: $49,650
EPA Fuel Economy: 28 mpg (combined)

If you're worried that getting a hybrid means sacrificing power and speed, think again. Road & Track's reviewer called the BMW ActiveHybrid3 "a seriously powerful car."

While the fuel efficiency doesn't blow us away, this is one luxury hybrid we certainly wouldn't mind driving.

VW Jetta Hybrid

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid
Starting Price: $24,995 
EPA Fuel Economy: 45 mpg (combined)

Think driving a standard Jetta is fun? The hybrid version will have you smiling even wider when you wave at the gas station as you drive by. The Jetta Hybrid also takes emissions-free "breaths of fresh air" when you're driving at freeway speeds and recharges the battery every time you brake. Cute and smart.

2014 Honda Accord plug-in hybrid

2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid
Starting Price: $39,780 
EPA Fuel Economy: 46 mpg (combined) / 115 MPGe

The new Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid makes it a pleasure to cut your dependence on fossil fuel. Choose from three driver-selected driving modes: electric only, hybrid only or fuel mode. Currently, this model is only available in New York and California.

Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid

2013 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid
Starting Price: $32,000 
EPA Fuel Economy: 50 mpg (combined) / 95 MPGe

The Prius Plug-In is the latest addition to the Prius family, and it can charge up in as little as 1-1/2  hours. The plug-in Prius is currently available in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

Electric vehicles

Ford Focus Electric

2013 Ford Focus Electric
Starting Price: $39,200 
EPA Fuel Economy: 105 combined MPGe

The "most fuel-efficient compact car in America," the Ford Focus Electric boasts an impressive 105 MPGe (the equivalent measure of gasoline fuel efficiency for electric-mode operation). It gets its power from a lithium-ion battery system that provides up to 76 miles of driving on each charge.

Tesla Model S electric car

Tesla Model S
Starting Price: $52,400 
EPA Fuel Economy: 90 combined MPGe

Looking for luxury? The Tesla Model S, the first "premium electric sedan," was recently voted Motor Trend's 2013 Car of the Year. With a starting price of $52,400 for the base model (after the $7,500 government rebate), you'll not only get to be green, you'll have to come up with the green to drive one of these head-turning, high-performance vehicles.

Toyota RAV4 EV

2013 Toyota RAV4 EV
Starting Price: $49,800 
EPA Fuel Economy: 76 combined MPGe

While Tesla, Volkswagen and Nissan all have electric SUVs on the horizon, Toyota has the distinction of being the only automaker with an all-electric SUV currently in production.

Consumer Reports calls the Toyota RAV4 EV "smooth-running and powerful, with an impressive range."

Quick tip:

Make sure you know the difference between an all-electric vehicle and a plug-in hybrid. All-electric cars get their power from large batteries charged from the grid. When they're out of juice, they won't go until charged. Plug-in hybrids use a smaller battery pack and can run on fuel when the battery runs out.

More car-buying info

Hot rod at heart: Cars for girls who like to drive fast
How to get the most out of a test-drive
10 Things to consider when buying a new car

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