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Honda's Civic Hybrid is rated as an Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (AT-PZEV)

Rankings of the the top 8 auto manufacturers
Honda and Toyota lead the list with domestic manufacturers pulling up the rear

Honda has always been a leader in the realm of fuel efficiency and environmentally friendliness. The Japanese auto manufacturer has consistently rolled out Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicles (ULEVs) and Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEVs) that dump less polluting emissions into our atmosphere. Honda brought the first hybrid-electric vehicle to the U.S. market in the form of the Insight. The tiny, tadpole-esque two-seater weighed less than 1,900 pounds and managed to achieve EPA mileage ratings of 60MPG/66MPG city/highway with a manual transmission.

Honda was also one of the first auto manufacturers to reintroduce the use of continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) to the North American market in the mid 1990s with the Civic HX -- Subaru had first tried out CVTs in the 1980s with the Justy. CVTs allow the engine to run at the most efficient RPMs and allow for increased fuel efficiency. Likewise, Honda has resisted the urge to drop a potent V8 engine in its largest SUVs and luxury sedans and has instead relied on pushing its efficient 3.5 liter V6 engine family to customers who purchase its largest vehicles.

This level of restraint and eco-friendliness on the part of Honda has led it to be labeled as the "2007 Greenest Automaker" by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). This is the fourth consecutive year that the automaker has won the award.

The top 8 auto manufacturers -- which represent 96% of the U.S. car and light truck market -- were tested across ten MY2005 vehicle classes on tailpipe emissions and overall contribution to global warming. You can download the full results of the UCS test here (PDF).

"Honda remains the greenest U.S. automaker. The company installs clean technology across its entire fleet of cars and trucks and that consistency makes it a top environmental performer" said Don MacKenzie, a vehicle engineer for the UCS and author of the report. "In addition, Honda continues to have the best smog score in four out of the five classes."

Honda slightly beat out second place Toyota which has also made strides to cut emissions and improve fuel economy across its entire vehicle lineup. "Toyota's ranking shows that size is no excuse for a dirty fleet," MacKenzie continued. "All of the automakers have the technology today to make all of their vehicles, from two-seaters to four-by-fours, a lot cleaner."

Hyundai/Kia placed third with Nissan and Volkswagen taking fourth and fifth respectively. Ford, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler rounded out the tail end of the list. General Motors was singled out for having the most vehicles in the lineup with EPA city mileage ratings of 15MPG or lower. Last place DaimlerChrysler was also criticized for its fleet of vehicles which produce 70% more pollutants than first place Honda and earned the "Rusty Tailpipe Award."

"There is a huge gap between the cleanest and dirtiest automakers," MacKenzie. "The winners are using clean technology across their entire fleets. The losers are installing it piecemeal, or not at all."

"Americans are paying closer attention to their personal environmental impact, and they want greener cars," said Ted Grozier of environmental strategy consulting firm GreenOrder. "The successful automaker is going to figure out a way to deliver those cars to consumers."

Just last week, President Bush issued a call to auto manufacturers to boost fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in new vehicles. Bush's plan calls for a 20% reduction in gasoline usage by 2017 and a halt in the rise of greenhouse emissions. The move is expected to cost the auto industry $114 billion USD.

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Of course American automanufacturers are last
By FITCamaro on 4/9/2007 6:55:22 AM , Rating: 3
Even if GM, Ford, and Dodge all had super efficient cars, the fact that they sell more trucks and SUVs than Honda, Toyota, or Nissan goes a long way to ruining their rating. When you compare vehicle vs. vehicle though of the same class and engine size, American cars are just as efficient as their imported counterparts. Sometimes when they're not it has to do with the fact that American cars typically have more horsepower than imports which slightly decreases mileage but its what the majority of Americans want. You're not going to notice the difference between 30 and 32 mpg either.

RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By qwerty1 on 4/9/2007 7:19:08 AM , Rating: 5
I beg to differ... 2 mpg can be a big difference. Let's say your car can hold 10 gallons of gas. That's 20 miles, or $2.00 (assuming $3/gallon) difference per refuel. Say you refuel once every two weeks, so that's 26 x 2 = $52 per year. Individually, that's not much. But let's assume there's 100 million cars in the US... that's $5.2 billion that could have been saved each year if people drove cars with only 2 more mpg.

By Fenixgoon on 4/9/2007 7:31:07 AM , Rating: 5
imagine how much people would save if they didn't live beyond their means, though.. that'd amount to a helluva lot more than $5.2B.... =)

RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By Howard on 4/9/2007 6:24:20 PM , Rating: 2
Is your house worth twice as much as your car?

By Diesel Donkey on 4/9/2007 11:08:40 PM , Rating: 1
Is your sarcasm-o-meter broken?

RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By Ringold on 4/9/2007 9:33:02 PM , Rating: 2
All of that is irrelevant, anyway. The option of the additional 2mpg is available to we American consumers, but other factors about a car rank higher than fuel efficiency, or at least influence our decision such that it's not an absolute priority. In the grand calculus scheme of the economy, American consumers simply value other things (such as size, style, cargo space, utility or whatever) more than they do this hypothetical $52 a year.

Some call it the invisible hand. I call it free will.

RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By Marlowe on 4/10/2007 2:43:28 PM , Rating: 3
There you have it. Freedom. I think the major cause of all this is the American mentality. If you didn't think "Ooh I like it big!" or walked around with big-headed attitudes your cars wouldn't be so big. Why is it that people from the US or Australia wants so different cars than people from the rest of the world? Why is it that Mercedes has to ship their new C-class to America with only V6 engines and not normal ones sold elsewhere? If your mentality were different, so would your cars be. Easy! And then that chart would look different.

My mate of mine muttered, after seeing a similar story on the news, why the americans weren't ashamed or had guilty consciences, and I answered maby they are and maby they have.. but probably not, it's just how they are.

Did you know 80 % of new cars sold in Norway in January were diesels? All of those use typically 5-6 liters per 100 km of highway, that's the equivalent of 40-50 mpg says google.. Why aren't you using diesel at all in America by the way? I've never really understood. It pollutes less and is therefore laiden with less taxes and is cheaper than gasoline here around.

Something else, why do you use the term "oil-burners"? It sounds like a very negative term for a in some ways better solution? And, I've said it before.. using MPG for measuring fuel useage is kinda misleading and sounds so unserious and non-important in comparison to xx liters/distance. :)

Someone always bashes people for not proving their numbers, so here is linkage about the 80% (in Norwegian tho):

And leave Iran alone ffs. Peace. :)

RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By masher2 on 4/10/2007 2:54:36 PM , Rating: 3
> "Why aren't you using diesel at all in America by the way?"

Diesel cars pollute more, not less. Until recently, it was considerable more. But with new clean-diesel tech and low-sulfur fuel, the NOX and particulates are much lower than they use to be...but they're still worse than a good gas engine.

Diesels have lower CO2 emissions only...but pollution is higher.

> "And, I've said it before.. using MPG for measuring fuel useage is kinda misleading and sounds so unserious and non-important in comparison to xx liters/distance. :)"

And you're wrong each time you say it. The two terms are mathematical inverses of each other (plus the metric conversion of course) and equivalent in functionality.

> "If you didn't think "Ooh I like it big!" or walked around with big-headed attitudes your cars wouldn't be so big."

The rich of any nation buy large cars with powerful engines. If fuel wasn't so expensive in Europe, you'd see everyone tooling around in V-8s there also.

RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By Marlowe on 4/10/2007 4:33:53 PM , Rating: 3
"Diesel cars pollute more, not less."
Do you have any proofs of this? Kinda weird what several European governments are doing when putting more tax on gasoline then don't you think?

"The two terms are mathematical inverses of each other (plus the metric conversion of course) and equivalent in functionality."
Wow masher! Is that really so!? Do I really have to.. god..

What I was saying is that miles per gallon is psychologically interpreted in a different way than liters per 100 km. The former does at first glance measure the miles driven more so than the amount of fuel used when you drive. There's also a difference in the wording; MPG - the amount of miles you can drive per gallon. Versus liters/100km - the amount of fuel you will use each time you drive 100 km. It makes a psychological difference for how much people care about it in my opinion. You knew very well what I meant, you're just behaving childish.

"The rich of any nation buy large cars with powerful engines."
Yes, but that doesn't explain anything about the common American people, why car makers have to make special, big versions of their cars if they want to sell them in the USA.

You really pick and choose what you want to argue about huh.. that MPG argument thing was really unnecessary, and seemingly none of the others hold ground.

RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By masher2 on 4/10/2007 5:04:51 PM , Rating: 2
> "Do you have any proofs of this? "

Its rather elementary; I'm surprised you even challenge it. Here's a link to an NRDC primer on diesel emissions. Allow me to quote from part of it.

Diesel engines emit huge quantities of fine particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and dozens of toxic chemicals that harm human health and the environment...
Diesel engines emit much more PM than gasoline engines...
While EU NOx emission standards for 2008 are considerably less stringent than the upcoming American standards (in fact, the average European diesel car will emit nearly eight times as much NOx as the average American car at that time, regardless of its fuel)...
Today, with new clean-diesel technology and ultra low-sulfur fuel, the very cleanest of diesel engines can almost match the "average" gas-powered vehicle. But compared to the cleanest gas engines, they still lag far behind.

> "It makes a psychological difference for how much people care about're just behaving childish...."

Sorry, but if you think simply phrasing mileage as liters/km instead of miles/gallon is going to somehow convince people to drive less, then you should reconsider which one of us is being childish.

RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By hspder on 4/10/2007 6:03:40 PM , Rating: 3
Marlowe, masher2:

I'm originally from Europe (lived in 3 different countries there) but am now a US Citizen, so I know both places quite well. There's a few things I feel need to be clarified.

First of all, reading Marlowe's posts, the irony of the fact that Norway's wealth comes in great measure from oil is so mind-boggling my head almost exploded.

Second, and more seriously, with regards to some of your comments:

a) The "new" ULSD is basically the same diesel fuel that Europe has been using for a long, long time. Virtually all diesel engines will be using it fairly soon in the US, so the Sulfur problem is gone for all intents and purposes

b) It is true that old Diesel engines, even with ULSD, have NOx and particulate problems. However, German auto manufacturers have solved that with BlueTec, which has two systems who reduce them. masher2 did acknowledge that (although he did to call out Bluetec by its name) -- the thing is, these are far from being fringe engines; the technology will be ubiquitous across Mercedes, BMW, Audi AND VW models within two years in Europe. Unfortunately, these manufacturers are dis-encouraged from even attempting to put those out in the US market because of the FUD that people like masher2 spread. People here perceive Diesel engines as slow and dirty, so they won’t buy them even if they are clean and fast (like the Audi V12 TDI engine).

Bluetec-equipped engines are, per mile traveled, FAR cleaner than Gasoline engines with similar power.

c) I'm tired of silly comments about how big Americans cars are. Yes, they're big. And big, heavy cars require big, heavy engines. Now get over it. Reducing the size of the average American car would require a monumental, even spectacular, change in EVERYTHING in the US.

Let me explain:

This is a huge country with tremendous urban sprawl. Everything is far away from everything -- spread apart. Efficient public transit systems are impossible in most of the US (the Northeast is the exception because it is so much like Europe: extremely concentrated urban areas). A huge percentage of cargo has to be transported by truck (rather than by train), because it is far more efficient (a huge freight train is only useful between hubs; the spokes have to be cared for by trucks).

The road network is therefore tremendous -- and hence impossible to maintain all in good condition -- and filled with... trucks.

Only people who have very little consideration for their lives are stupid enough to commute every day in a small car. The odds of, during a 20 mile (average) commute, in the US, of getting hit by a truck, are pretty high. And if a collision between a 1 ton small car and a 3+ ton truck, guess who wins?

Example (real) story:

Small cars are also dangerous on their own -- not to speak uncomfortable -- in extremely uneven, damaged roads with frequent roadkill like the ones many regions have (notably California). If you go over a huge pothole, or run across a large animal, or a piece of large debris (like a ladder that fell off the back of a pickup -- happened to my friend) you’re much better off with a larger car.

I'm an environmentalist, an ex-European, and I try to use public transit as much as possible. However, there's no way I'd put myself or my family in, say, a MINI, over here in the US. I have an Audi Q7 4.2. Which -- irony of ironies! -- is one of many gas-guzzling EUROPEAN luxury cars. I know, it's not environmentally friendly. But my family's safety is first and foremost -- what's the point of saving the environment if we'll be all killed in a car accident?

Now, give me that Q7 with a V12 TDI Bluetec engine and I'll be a happy camper.

RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By masher2 on 4/10/2007 6:21:19 PM , Rating: 2
> "Bluetec-equipped engines are, per mile traveled, FAR cleaner than Gasoline engines with similar power..."

Good post hspder, but you're wrong about this point. Bluetec is the cleanest diesel technology yes, and it may be ubiquitous soon. But the fact remains that it just barely meets the CA LEV Bin 5 standards for CO, NOx, and particulates. That's a tough standard, but still considerably more polluting than a ULEV, a SULEV (tighter still), or PZEV and ZEV (tightest of all)

Many gas-powered vehicles make these tighter standards. There are quite a few ULEV vehicles...the Toyota Matrix, the Hyundai Elantra, etc. In the tighter SULEV category, the Ford Focus and the Pontiac Grand Prix meet the bill, along with the Insight hybrid. In the PZEV category, we have the Prius, the Subaru Legacy, and the Camry Hybrid.

ALL of these vehicles have considerably lower emissions than even a Bluetec-equipped diesel.

RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By czarchazm on 4/10/2007 9:57:27 PM , Rating: 2
Masher2 seems to be correct from a logical perspective about the cleanliness of diesel burning engines. While diesel does have a higher energy density, it also is refined less than gasoline.

So, even though gasoline pushes the car forward less (probably far less) than diesel, it is possible that the gasoline engine will still put off fewer emissions because the dirty chemicals in diesel simply aren't there in the gasoline.

RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By hspder on 4/11/2007 11:37:51 AM , Rating: 1
The way you ignore the CO, HC and especially CO2 emissions and not compare engines with similar power envelopes is intellectually dishonest.

A 4-cilinder Bluetec engine with 170 hp produces 0.06 g/km of CO, 0.08 g/km of NOx, 0.01 g/km of HC, 0.001 g/km of particulates and -- pay attention now -- 150 g/km of CO2.

A similar 4-cilinder *Gas* engine with the same HP produces 200 g/km of CO2 -- that is 50 g more CO2 per km. It produces 0.238 g/km of CO, 0.037 g/km of HC, 0.021 g/km of NOx and no particulates.

So it produces also MORE CO and more HC. The only areas it produces less pollution is 0.06 g/km less of NOx and no particulates. But we're talking MINUTE amounts here, especially if you compare them to industrial emissions.

On the other hand, the extra 50 g / km of CO2, plus the extra CO and HC far overwhelm that -- by three full orders of magnitude in total.

Looking at the average engine and mileage in the US, if you convert to Diesel, you'll be producing ONE TON less of CO2 per year while enjoying the same power (and higher torque, by the way). You'll also be putting out almost 4 kg less of CO if you use a Diesel.

So stop being intellectually dishonest and focusing on a small part of the pollutant zoo; European Governments are NOT complete idiots in providing incentive to the use of Diesel. Saying Diesel is dirtier is spreading FUD for no reason. DIESEL IS CLEANER.

(emission data obtained from and

RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By masher2 on 4/11/2007 12:17:54 PM , Rating: 2
But you're comparing the cleanest possible diesel engine to the "average" gasoline engine. And still it loses on particulates and far the two most damaging forms of air pollution. Compare the Bluetec engine to the cleanest gas engines, and it loses on HC as well.

As for CO2, its not an air pollutant. Its airborne plant food, nontoxic and wholly nondangerous to human health. It's produced by every living creature, as well as the planet itself, in quantities far greater than that produced by automobiles.

My point stands. Diesels are more efficient than gas-powered engines. But they also generate considerably more air pollution.

RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By hspder on 4/11/2007 1:18:32 PM , Rating: 1
You seemed to have missed the part where I said that the numbers came from a gas engine with a similar power envelope. So no, it's not the "average" gas engine, I'm comparing apples to apples.

If you don't believe me, check the website for yourself.

I'd dig out numbers from a lower power pair (i.e., a lower power diesel and a lower power gas engine), and I could also dig up the numbers showing Industrial -- and commercial, i.e., from freight traffic -- NOx and Particulate emissions in the US, but you've clearly made up your mind. Hopefully other readers will not be as close minded... and I haven't completely wasted my time doing some actual research.

RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By masher2 on 4/11/2007 2:15:37 PM , Rating: 2
> "it's not the "average" gas engine"

Its the average gas engine of equivalent power...compared to the cleanest possible diesel.

> "check the website for yourself."

But you didn't name the gas vehicle you compared against, nor could I find figures on the Bluetec site you gave, though admittedly I didn't click on every single link and read every single article.

But still, you have yet to refute the primary point. Even using your own figures, diesel loses on the worst forms of air pollution-- particulates and NOx. Comparing it to the cleanest gas loses on everything else as well. Which is what I said from the start.

RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By hspder on 4/11/2007 6:10:05 PM , Rating: 1
The numbers are for 4-cilinder Mercedes engines (diesel and gas) in the 2-liter class (the ones in the MB C220 Bluetec and C200, respectively -- same power envelope). I've driven cars with those two engines, so I have first hand experience with them.

And since you insist, let's do this:

Find me the "cleanest" gas engine that ALSO outputs at least 125 kW (170 hp), has decent torque (very important for the US market -- I'm actually giving you the advantage by not asking for 400 Nm of torque like the C220 Bluetec has) and has better CO2, CO and HC emissions than the C220 Bluetec (numbers in g/km so it is easy to compare) and I'll concede the point on *those* byproducts.

(I'm calling them byproducts so we don't get bogged down in a discussion about semantics)

RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By masher2 on 4/12/2007 8:25:45 AM , Rating: 1
I'll be happy to, but first you need to confirm the figures for Bluetec emissions as they don't appear to be anywhere on that site...and even the glowing press releases from DaimlerChrysler simply call the Vision C Bluetec engine the cleanest diesel in the world. Certainly if it were the cleanest engine overall, you think they'd be trumpeting the fact.

By hspder on 4/12/2007 11:24:26 PM , Rating: 3
Oh, for crying out loud! Are you trying to convince ANYONE that you're smart enough to be so sure about your claims but not smart enough to research the numbers?

I put up TWO links, and you conveniently ignore one of them, much like you conveniently ignore CO2, CO and HCs...

You can fool all the people some of the time, you can fool some people all the time, but you cannot fool ALL people ALL the time.

Want more numbers that can be found in a few seconds?

Take the Honda Accord, a PZEV vehicle (as low as they get in that class) with a 2.4 liter engine of similar power than the C220 Bluetec I mentioned.

Here are its numbers:

200 g/km of CO2
0.33 g/km of CO
0.070 g/km of HCs
0.010 g/km of NOx

Do you still think the MB gas engine I put up was "average"?

Sure, if you take a 1.8 liter Civic (a ULEV-2) for example, the emissions will be lower (158 g/km of CO2, 0.19 g/km of CO, 0.023 g/km of HC, 0.006 g/km of NOx) HOWEVER that's a slow car with a low power, low torque engine! If you want to compare to a similar power Diesel, you have to compare with the Diesel Honda uses on the Civic in Europe: 140 g/km of CO2, 0.12 g/km of CO, 0.015 g/km of HC.

This data is from the website you conveniently ignore --; I've tried about 10 different pairs of diesel and gasoline engines of similar power and EVERY SINGLE TIME, the Diesel has lower CO2, lower CO and lower HC emissions for the same power output.

And, again, I'm choosing to give you the benefit of ignoring torque; you must realize Diesel engines of similar power will have much more torque than its gasoline counterpart. So you get the same power, more torque, better mileage and lower CO2, CO and HC emissions.

As I said before, there is a reason European Governments provide extremely strong incentives for the use of Diesel. There is also a reason 44 auto journalists from all over the world just gave Mercedes the Yearly environmental award for the E320 Bluetec diesel.

You need to realize that if you want to call people idiots, you need to have some hard FACTS to back up your claims -- or you'll be the one looking like an idiot...

By retrospooty on 4/9/2007 11:08:58 AM , Rating: 2
"American cars are just as efficient as their imported counterparts"

Not under any circumstances is that statement true, not since maybe the 1970's, possibly earlier.

RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By Noya on 4/9/2007 11:17:40 AM , Rating: 4
Sometimes when they're not it has to do with the fact that American cars typically have more horsepower than imports which slightly decreases mileage but its what the majority of Americans want.

Since when did the average (4-door, $25k-30k'ish, mass produced/sold) American car have more power than a comparable Japanese car?

The V-6 Nissan Altima 02+ and mid-90's Maxima's have had more power than the average car for a long time. The Accord has also had 240+ for a while.

It's evidently not what the majority of American's want, as domestic car have been in the red for a very long time, while the Camry and Accord have flourished. People want quality, reliability, looks and resale value and continue to pay the premium for imports.

RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By dever on 4/9/2007 1:25:05 PM , Rating: 3
Not only that, but the big three American car companies are straddled with oppressive unions. The unions alone prevent them from moving quickly and adapting to the market. Combine that with their historic sluggishness and it's a recipe for failure.

By Ringold on 4/9/2007 9:38:13 PM , Rating: 4
The unions deserve their fair share of the blame, they absolutely do. The UAW has given some ground, which is good, but they run the danger of protesting their way out of their jobs. If GM or Ford couldn't manage to be competitive with their current legacy costs compared to their rivals, and needed further cuts, and if the UAW decided to strike, it'd send the American manufacturers down a quick, slipperly slope to oblivion. It's not just US makers, though, but also European ones. Volkswagen, for example, it almost crippled by their European unions.

Also worth noting that non-union wages within the same industries have risen quicker over the last 15 years or so than union wages have. The bottom line is that the usefulness of union's in American industry has long since run its course in their current form.

By masher2 on 4/10/2007 9:00:45 AM , Rating: 4
> "My Honda was manufactured in America by a union worker. Unions aren't the issue here"

If you're speaking about the Maryville plant, the UAW was unsuccesful in unionizing that location. In fact, they've been largely unable to penetrate the Japanese transplants at all:

Furthermore, in those few locations unions are in Japanese shops, they're relatively young organizations, and thus haven't built up the framework of featherbedding and other costly tactics that are so damaging to the bottom line.

And finally, I have to point out that, while both US and Japanese automakers purchase a huge amount of parts from outside their organization, the US makers do so primarily from unionized companies...meaning they're hit with the union tab twice on every vehicle.

RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By amac21 on 4/10/2007 2:49:00 PM , Rating: 2
I can't claim to know much about the union issue, but I know I read last week that the top 2 execs at Ford earned over 60 million dollars last year. Not a bad reward for driving a company to a 10 billion dollar loss!

How many union jobs might be covered by such a windfall?

When you're bleeding, cost cuts should start at the top!

By masher2 on 4/10/2007 3:03:44 PM , Rating: 2
> "How many union jobs might be covered by such a windfall?"

At $35/hr plus benefits -- about 600 employees. Out of Ford's total workforce of 327,000 people...a rather small drop in a very large bucket.

Also, given that the CEO of Ford is William Ford, and thus one of the major stockholders as well, he's bleeding as much from the losses as any other owner.

Honestly, people need to realize companies don't exist to guarantee jobs to people. They exist to make a profit for their owners. If the shareholders are fine with the CEO's salary, then the rest of us should just shut up and let them spend their money how they wish.

By theapparition on 4/10/2007 5:39:31 PM , Rating: 2
.....and are designing their cars in a manner that discourages consumers from servicing the cars themselves at a lower price point.

I'd wager that if you talked to any experts (i.e. mechanics), not one will tell you any import is easier to work on than domestic, in general. Japanese cars, in particular, do a fantastic job of packaging everything into a tight space. That high level of packaging, comes at the price of reduced servicability. This is easily evident in the price disparity between import and domestic service costs.

Just because your friend had a car with a poor design doesn't make it a rule. I can name several instances where, to change a belt, meant either drilling a hole in the wheel well, or removing the engine.

By feelingshorter on 4/9/2007 11:37:47 AM , Rating: 1
I went to to check your research. Lets compare Ford/GM vs Toyota/Honda.

Ford Focus/GM? VS Corolla/Civic.

Year Make/Model [City/Hwy]
2000 Ford Focus 2.0 Liters [23/30]
2000 Honda Civic 1.6 Liters [24/32]
2000 Toyota Corolla 1.8 Liters [25/34]

2007 Ford Focus 2.0 Liters [23/31]
2007 Honda Civic 1.8 Liters [25/36]
2007 Toyota Corolla 1.8 Liters [26/35]

All the cars listed above are automatic, 4 cylinder. I couldn't find what was a comparable GM car. Click GM under and all you see are SUVs/Vans/Trucks. I know GM manufactures Cadillacs but I don't believe those cars are in the same class as the cars above. Those mileage numbers are according to the new rating system also.

Funny how the website doesn't list as much information as they used to, such as the horse power, and not just displacement.

Looking at that information what do you see? In SEVEN long years, the focus +1 to hwy mileage and +0 to city! That means in 7 years, the Focus lost 2-3 city and 5-6 miles per gallon compared to the Civic/Corolla. Technology improves. The Detroit suits must be out of there minds if they think everyone thinks like you do as though "2-3 miles don't make much of a difference." Multiply that by how many gallons of gas, and you see a huge difference on the highway, and even in the city.

I don't want to type too much but I'll say one thing. Japanese cars run at higher RPM to achieve faster speeds. Just because the Honda is lower in displacement compared to the Focus doesn't mean it will lose in speed. Honda started off making motorcycles, and their car engine build resembles that fact. They run at higher RPM instead of just having a bigger engine displacement. That is also true for other Japanese car manufactures. Even their "super" cars, such as the Supra/NSX and Skyline. The Skyline, in Japan, doesn't have a bigger engine every year to make it faster (last time it herd, it stayed at 3.0 liter v6 I believe). Instead, they rely on having new features, such as staggered wheels, better transmission, having the ability to switch between 4 wheel drive and rear wheel drive, having an advanced limited slip differentials, and such such. Thats where REAL engineering ingenuity shines. Thats why Toyota/Honda is doing ok, while Ford/GM is bleeding money out of their asses. 7 year no change = no chance. Man I read so many WSJ/BusinessWeek articles about Ford/GM. There was even one on WSJ that analyzed (or the author guess) who the Detroit suits think. Read it...Then laugh at how they dug their own graves by thinking the same way you think.

RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By masher2 on 4/9/2007 12:22:01 PM , Rating: 4
If you cherry pick cars, you can prove anything. For instance, looking at the Si version of the Civic, you get:

2000 Civic Si MPG: 26/31
2007 Civic Si MPG: 23/32

Meaning that, in 7 years, the Civic actually lost a bit in overall mileage, whereas the Ford Focus gained slightly.

By feelingshorter on 4/9/2007 12:58:39 PM , Rating: 1
Prove what now? You just proved my point even further...That car is more people who want just a little more horse power, not what I would call a good comparison to the Ford Focus. Fine, lets go by YOUR pick of cars. The Si still gets better gas millage and is faster than the Focus.

RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By masher2 on 4/9/2007 1:45:17 PM , Rating: 4
> "You just proved my point even further...The Si still gets better gas millage and is faster than the Focus. "

Err, no I didn't. Your original implication was that Honda had improved their technology (and thus MPG) in the past 7 years, whereas Ford and GM had sat on their ass. But for this particular model Honda, average mpg actually declined over that period.

As for the Si "getting better mileage", I see a mileage of 27/37 for the Focus, or substantially better than the Civic Si.

By i4mt3hwin on 4/9/2007 2:15:37 PM , Rating: 2
Masher's point was that by cherry picking certain cars you can show improvements and declines in certain cars. Unfortunately this isn't only limited to cars but all statistics and some people know how to abuse it better then others.

By Sureshot324 on 4/9/2007 8:12:19 PM , Rating: 2
You're looking at the old EPA ratings. It's true that the Civic Si gets slight worse mileage than a focus, but the Civic Si is a sports car and has 200hp and should be compared to the Focus SVT (now discontinued.. The focus is an economy car and only has about 130hp and should be compared to a regular Civic.

The reason the new Civic Si gets slightly worse mileage than the old one is because it gets a lot more power (the 2000 Si only got like 150hp I think). Sports cars are a very small part of the market, so the mileage from them won't affect the environment as much.

By theapparition on 4/10/2007 5:47:27 PM , Rating: 2
the Civic Si is a sports car

Please.........don't ever utter those words in the same sentence again. The civic is nowhere near the same class.

By feelingshorter on 4/9/2007 10:54:18 PM , Rating: 2
Thats a performance car. Thats why it gets worse gas millage. Its so d@mn obvious. I was comparing people movers and your comparing a sports car, which only focuses on speed, and not fuel economy. The Ford Focus is a people mover, and should of improved its fuel economy. You have yet to prove that the Focus is in the same class as the Civic Si, and the Civic costs more (and so do many Ferraris and BMWs that dont improve their fuel economy).

You know what, I don't care. Ford is getting owned in sales. Even if they did not have problems with the health plan packages they give to their employees, less people are buying Fords vs foreign cars. So your argument of how Ford hasn't sat on their asses, WHICH THEY DID, then why is the Corolla/Civic selling better?

Detroit has one of the highest (if not the highest, according to a WSJ article) rates of truck drivers/other big cars. All day long, the people who run those companies only see their own cars being driven. Why? Cuz its the home of the automakers, and people who work for them buy their cars. The suits think to themselves "why are we doing so bad? Everyone drives trucks/SUVs/big cars" as they look outside their window. Maby of the Detroit suits would pull their head out of their asses and actually innovate.

By masher2 on 4/10/2007 8:47:29 AM , Rating: 3
> "The suits think to themselves "why are we doing so bad? Everyone drives trucks/SUVs/big cars" as they look outside their window..."

I live a very long way from Detroit, and you'd have to look hard to find a family near me that doesn't have an SUV or two in the garage.

And in all your discussions about GM and Ford, you have forgotten that, by sheer sales volume, GM is the largest automaker in the world. Ford is third. They're not "doing badly" because they're not selling cars...they're doing so because they're not able to make them as cheaply as other automakers.

By FITCamaro on 4/9/2007 12:31:10 PM , Rating: 1
No. GM and Ford are bleeding money from huge medical, retirement, and wage costs. Honda and Toyota don't have the aged labor force that GM and Ford do. In 30 years, they'll be in much the same boat. Unions haven't become throughly entrenched in them like they are at Ford and GM. Wisely, they're trying to not let the unions in as much. Unfortunately GM and Ford can't get rid of them quite so easily.

Unions are killing domestic manufacturers by causing people doing unskilled labor, or even at times nothing at all, to be paid $25-35 an hour or more. There are rooms at these plants where guys sit and do nothing but get paid for it, simply because GM and Ford can't fire them because of labor contracts. They're slowly getting rid of them. But its costing them a fortune to do so.

Also I don't know about you, but I don't like having to wind an engine to 5000+ rpm to get any kind of power out of it. My Cobalt's 2.4L starts to kick in around 2000 rpm and is making its torque by 3000. Granted in normal city driving I don't take it much above 3500 if that. But with a Honda it has to work harder. I've driven Honda's and my Cobalt. My Cobalt is far more responsive and gets equal mileage. Right now with an 8 mile commute thats mostly city driving I average 27-28 mpg. With a 12 gallon tank (although I've never managed to get more than 11 into it), I put 10 gallons or so in every 2 weeks(sometimes 2 and a half weeks). That's perfectly acceptable to me. And it's premium gas no less. I was in Washington, D.C. this past week and had a Chevy HHR rental with the 2.2L Ecotec. While not as responsive as my 2.4L, it was ok acceleration and in a week I used 2.2 gallons of gas doing entirely city driving. A friend of mine rented a 2.2L auto Cobalt and between Orlando and Melbourne, FL he got around 38-40 mpg.

Advertised numbers don't mean anything. Imports get good mileage but so do domestics. And I'd rather have the domestic since it's more tuned for driving here and having power both down low and up high rather than just up high as with an import. I'll admit several of the import V6s out there are nice and make good power, but they often want way too much for those models to the point where I can get a V8 powered car with nearly as good a mileage. Acura's 300 hp TL V6 6-speed that gets 20/29 mpg or so costs more than a Pontiac GTO with 400 hp, a 6-speed, and 18-19/27-28 (often better) mpg.

And I've driven imports with shitty mileage too. My dad's 95 4Runner was a dog and had no acceleration whatsoever over 40 mph and got 14-15 mpg in the city and 18-19 on the highway with a V6.

By feelingshorter on 4/9/2007 1:21:39 PM , Rating: 2
The same stories can be told about your Colbalt getting good gas millage as can be told of people driving Civics/Corolla, manual or auto. I'll admit that you can get a Colbalt for much cheaper though, and that brings into the question how long the car will last. My parents have owned a Corsica, brand new, from long ago. Will never touch an American car again, I don't need to tell you how much money we spent on repairs. Since then, bought a 06 Camry, and no major repairs at all and still running today.

Maybe I gave some people the wrong impression when I said Honda need to run at higher RPM. Anyone that drives a Honda knows that their engine doesn't need to touch 5000 rpm in regular day to day driving. Drive an Accord, those cars aren't slow.

Your real life speed will be limited by a lot of traffic and stop lights. Your speed will is also limited by how much balls you have to speed 15-20 miles over the speed limit on a 45. Other than that, if your driving just 5-7 miles over the speed limit in a city, whats all that power good for? Fine, take your car on the highway for example. I've been in many civics and they keep up with highway speeds just fine.

By Ringold on 4/9/2007 9:45:11 PM , Rating: 2
I test drove a Civic about a year ago and took it on a very short jaunt on a highway.

You're right, once it's at highway speeds, it was.. acceptable. But I floored it trying to achieve that speed and merge in to traffic tearing along at 75mph. Didn't just floor it for a moment, either, but continuously -- it just didn't have any oomph.

After considering that, and the fact it felt like a little tiny coffin, was deal-killer. Maybe flooring the accelerator and only slowly achieving merging speed is your idea of "just fine", but it wasn't for me. I think it'd of gone quicker if I'd got out and pushed..

By weskurtz0081 on 4/10/2007 8:38:19 AM , Rating: 2
Hold on man,

This whole article was over gas mileage, and so have been the conversations. You ask how long the Cobalt will last.... probably isn't a good answer to that question as it is still a fairly new car. The first one came out around what.... 2 years ago? Also, you use a 1 year old car as an example of why Toyota makes good cars?

How do you know what anyones real life speed will be? How many Cobalts have you driven? My issue with your post is that it's all your opinion and doesn't do a good job at proving any points. For the record, I drive a Tundra, and this is my second one.

RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By dever on 4/9/2007 1:36:54 PM , Rating: 2
I'm surprised that with your fairly accurate assessment of unions that you still are loyal to the "American" car companies. When you buy from a unionized car company you pay for all of the inherent inefficiencies. You're paying for unskilled workers being paid $30/hour. You're paying for union cronies that can't get fired, but refuse to work. Why reward that sort of system?

My dad retired from GM, and even with the employee family discounts I get the only car I can justify purchasing from GM is the Nummi (Toyota) joint venture vehicles.

By FITCamaro on 4/9/2007 5:33:00 PM , Rating: 1
Because I'd rather put money in greedy American corporate pockets than greedy foreign corporate pockets. I'm a Chevy guy (if you can't tell) and Bob Lutz is working his @$$ off trying to get Chevy back to the car company it used to be. You don't hear about him riding corporate jets to his home in Florida every weekend like the guys at Ford. He brought us the GTO, he's bringing us the new Camaro and Pontiac G8, and many more vehicles to come.

As far as the quality though of my corporate greed, overpaid union built Chevy, I find it fine. 33,000+ miles in 16 months and nothing but oil changes and the 30,000 mile service needed. Still on stock brakes, tires, and plugs. And yes, I'm paying for those inefficiencies. The car is still cheaper and just as good. Now imagine what they could do if all that crap were gone.

Call it patriotic or idiotic, I'll keep supporting the car companies that have been here for years and will continue to be for years to come. Honda and Toyota just build cars. Chevy and, yes, Ford, build legends.

By Ringold on 4/9/2007 9:47:36 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, you're *not* paying for those inefficiencies! If GM and Ford is operating at a loss in North America, it show's that they're selling below true costs, which means they're taking that inefficiency on the chin and the consumer gets a car at below value.

Bites for stockholders. Good for FITCamaro. :)

By Hoser McMoose on 4/9/2007 6:17:42 PM , Rating: 2
Best comparison for GM would be the 2000 Chevy Cavalier vs. 2007 Chevy Cobalt (which replaced the Cavalier a couple years ago).

2000 Chevrolet Cavalier 2.2 liters: [23/31]
2007 Chevrolet Cobalt 2.2 liters: [24/32]

Chrysler doesn't really have a good comparison though, or at least not among their North American offerings. Probably the best we could do is to compare the Dodge Neon to the Dodge Caliber, though those two cars are pretty different.

2000 Dodge Neon 2.0 Liter [25/31]
2007 Dodge Caliber 2.0 Liter CVT [26/30]

It's important to note that virtually all of the cars listed have gained size, weight and horsepower between 2000 and 2007. Taking the 2000 vs. 2007 Civic DX sedan we get:

Engine: 1.6l -> 1.8l
Horsepower: 106hp -> 140hp
Curb Weight: 2339 lbs -> 2690 lbs
Length: 175.1" -> 176.7"
Width: 67.1" -> 69"

Other cars in this comparison have beefed up similarly. I think the Focus changed the least in terms of size and engine power while the Neon -> Caliber was the biggest change (as mentioned above, they're only just barely comparable cars).

If these cars all stayed the same physical size and kept roughly the same engine output, it's almost certain that fuel economy would have gone up more.

By theapparition on 4/10/2007 6:11:13 PM , Rating: 2
Japanese cars run at higher RPM to achieve faster speeds.

They run higher RPM to acheive the same speed.

EPA ratings are just that, a somewhat controlled test enviroment, that provides rating for consumers to judge and select vehicules. This in no way implies the fuel economy that YOU will get. Everyone recently saw that when hybrids took a nose-dive in economy.

Fact is, companies make cars for the market. Japanese manufacturers went small/efficient. Domestic went large/powerful, and European (sold in America), went luxury/price. The Japanese, only a few years ago, were losing market share, particuarly in the truck/SUV segment where they had almost no presence. Next thing, the Japanese manufacturers are making all the trucks/suv's that americans could want. Then comes the gas price increases and the market has shifted to that of smaller/efficient cars. Couple that with poor domestic reliability in the 80's, and the domestic manufacturer's have begun to lose ground. If gas prices dropped overnight to sub $1, you'd find that most of the market would start buying big again. This has nothing to do with the engineering in each automobile. If the Skyline was so perfectly engineered, why isn't it selling over here?

Large displacement doesn't necessarily equate to low economy. Features such as displacement on demand give consumers the best of both worlds by allowing power and economy modes.

It takes several years to refocus the target market in the automobile industry. The domestics have a setback, but will emerge fine in the long run.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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