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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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By TheFro on 4/9/2007 7:04:26 PM , Rating: 2
And GM and Ford didn't? Todays cars emit about 1% of the NOX, CO, and particulates as they did in 1970. That's a tremendous breakthrough.

Not to the extent of the Japanese automakers, no. Ford only recently switched to using OHC engines and GM still uses push-rod engine technology for almost all their cars. While GM will argue that push-rod engine technology is just as effective as OHC engines, you have to wonder why every other auto manufacturer has switched to OHC engines. I'll leave you to reference wikipedia to list the disadvantages of push-rod engine technology and see if the advantages make up for it. I certainly don't think they do.

By the way, try breathing the air in one of any number of Asian nations which don't implement emissions requirements. It's nearly impossible...and the cars generating those emissions are made much by Toyota and Honda than Ford or GM.

Actually, I have been to poor Asian countires where there are no emissions requirements. Many of those cars in use are from the 1970's and 80's. Many older, some younger. Like you said, tremendous breakthroughs since the 70's. Many of the emmission problems you see in these countries are due to the continued use of such older vehicles, (especially old diesel engines which seem to last forever :P) which are not kept properly tuned and maintained.

Only with recent economic development does one see a number late model automobiles in these countires, which carry over many of the enhancements you see in cars here. Remember, people in other countries are way more concerned about buying fuel efficient cars than people in the US, since gas is way more expensive in most other countries, so I don't see automakers selling less effieicnt models to other countries.

Besides, we are concerned with automakers selling cars in the US where we have emission standards. Stay on topic, masher.

By FITCamaro on 4/9/07, Rating: 0
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