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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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Oil = Death
By bldckstark on 4/9/2007 1:13:26 PM , Rating: 1
While we are on the subject of gas milage, let me share something I read this weekend. It said that we are paying for both sides of the war in Iraq. We buy the oil which is refined into gas which funds the radical groups that are rebelling in Iraq, then we pay taxes to send our troops over there to die. Basically, we are paying people to kill our friends and family members.

We have to get over this dependence on middle east oil. Let them fight each other to the death and when they grow up we can be friends again. When we stop paying for their oil, they will become third world countries again and won't have the means to create the kind of terror they produce now.

I ain't never hugged no trees, but the train of thought provoked by that one statement (by a Republican at that!) has caused me to re-think a few things.

BTW I read it in an alternative fuel comparison in Motor Trend, this months issue.

RE: Oil = Death
By dever on 4/9/2007 1:49:18 PM , Rating: 2
Solutions to oil independence should include taking restrictions off of drilling here in the U.S.

Also, they may kill each other off to a small degree, but one thing they all agree on is that Americans must die first.

RE: Oil = Death
By GoatMonkey on 4/9/2007 2:54:11 PM , Rating: 2
Hell yeah.

The problem is that even if we don't buy it, they will sell it to someone else, such as China, Russia, or India. So, its not just a matter of removing American dependence on middle eastern oil, it has to be done for the entire world to be really effective. Removing American dependence is a good start though.

RE: Oil = Death
By masher2 on 4/9/2007 3:02:18 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't work quite like that...the price of oil is very inelastic, which means a small decrease in demand results in a large price drop. For instance, if the US cut its oil consumption in half overnight, that would result in a ~12.5% drop in world oil demand. But the resultant price would drop from $60/bbl to under $10/bbl....with an even larger drop in profits.

RE: Oil = Death
By GoatMonkey on 4/9/2007 3:49:55 PM , Rating: 1
It hurts them with just the U.S. out of their potential customers, but they will still be making enough money to buy some guns and bombs. It would probably eliminate the possibility of them getting nukes though.

Ideally, we need oil production to be shut down completely. Even then, they will still be selling drugs, and whatever else they can think of, to fund the terrorists.

RE: Oil = Death
By theapparition on 4/10/2007 6:16:01 PM , Rating: 2
Then OPEC would just cut production, to protect profits.

RE: Oil = Death
By masher2 on 4/10/2007 6:36:46 PM , Rating: 3
> "Then OPEC would just cut production, to protect profits. "

You can't cut production enough to prop up prices after a demand drop that large. Consider. OPEC produces 42% of world oil. To account for a 12.5% demand drop, OPEC would need to cut their own production by 30%. Since some costs are fixed, that would equate to about a 35% reduction in profits for OPEC members...whereas the rest of the oil-producing world would suffer not at all. OPEC members would never buy it...they'd agree to a much smaller cut, and prices would fall like a stone as each individual member tried to protect their own revenue stream.

Don't believe me? Look at past history. From 1982 to 1998, oil prices fell from $68/bbl to $12/bbl...for the very reasons I gave above. OPEC's price controls are really only effective when the majority of the spare pumping capacity in the world market is in their hands.

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