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
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
"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
"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
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