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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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So what
By Shadowself on 4/9/2007 10:01:25 AM , Rating: 3
Back in the 70s Volkswagon sold a Rabbit in the U.S. that got over 50 mpg. I owned one and typically got over 50. It was a 4 door and could hold 4 adults (two comfortably in the front and two OK in the back or 3 children in the back).

Back in the 80s Honda shipped the CRX which did about 50 mpg. It could hold two adults comfortably in the front and two children in the back.

If they could do that then, why are we NOT seeing 60 and 70 mpg cars now? Until then I stick with what I have.




RE: So what
By lazyinjin on 4/9/2007 10:13:39 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
If they could do that then, why are we NOT seeing 60 and 70 mpg cars now? Until then I stick with what I have.


Americans are in love with bigger and faster cars. The Honda Accord of the 90's is smaller and less powerful than the Civic of today, and this is true among all the car manufacturers. our average car has ballooned in size, so we compensate with bigger engines. the two combine for poor fuel economy; fortunately, new engine tech keeps things a tab more balanced.

I have no doubt that if we had the small sized cars of 20 years ago and todays engine tech; We'd see reasonalby comfortable 40-50mpg, like i did with my 95 Escort in high-school.


RE: So what
By Noya on 4/9/2007 11:23:49 AM , Rating: 2
Our average car has balooned in size because so has the average American. I think Honda was one of the first Japanese companies to make specific versions of their cars just for our market, due to our ever increasing waistline. I think it was first the 98-02 Accord, and more recently the TSX is the Accord around the world while you know what we have as an 03+.


RE: So what
By masher2 (blog) on 4/9/2007 10:25:46 AM , Rating: 3
> "If they could do that then, why are we NOT seeing 60 and 70 mpg cars now?"

The consumer wanting larger, more comfortable and or powerful cars is certainly part of it. Still you have to remember that EPA and DOT requirements have both increased dramatically since the 1970s.

Take off the new emissions controls, the weight from additional safety requirements, and run the car on leaded, nonreformated gas without all the emission-limiting additives, and you'd gain at least 15% mileage, perhaps more.


RE: So what
By FITCamaro on 4/9/2007 12:34:57 PM , Rating: 1
Yes. All the safety equipment in cars today is quite hefty.


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