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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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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.

By masher2 (blog) 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)

By masher2 (blog) 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...

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