June 6, 2007

Not all fuel-savers are earth-savers, says BCAA and Pollution Probe

Burnaby, British Columbia – An analysis done jointly by the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) and Pollution Probe for today’s Clean Air Day shows that most, but not all fuel-efficient cars are also easiest on the environment. While gasoline-electric hybrids top both the cleanest and most economical lists, fuel-sipping diesel engines emit more air pollutants.

The analysis uses Natural Resources Canada’s EnerGuide data to rank vehicles according to fuel economy, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data to derive greenhouse gas and air pollution emission scores.

“With so much focus on climate change, we tend to only think about a vehicle’s greenhouse gas emissions when measuring its impact on the environment,” says Trace Acres, BCAA’s Director of Corporate Communications and Government Affairs. “But BCAA believes it’s also important to consider a vehicle’s impact on the air we breathe, as well as its contribution to climate change.”

Comparing fuel economy with overall emissions, the Honda Civic Hybrid and Toyota Prius top both lists, but the highly-efficient Smart Fortwo and Volkswagen diesels can’t match the gasoline-powered overall emission scores.

“Today, diesel-powered cars do not compete with their gasoline-powered counterparts on smog-forming emissions performance, but that could soon change,” says Bob Oliver, Pollution Probe transportation program director. “Federal low sulphur fuel regulations, combined with more stringent emission standards, should drive the development of cleaner diesel technologies. Look for cleaner diesel vehicle options to start arriving in 2008.”

In order of fuel consumption performance, the top money-saving performers on the list, in order, are the Toyota Prius, Smart Fortwo, Honda Civic Hybrid, Volkswagen Golf TDI, Volkswagen New Beetle TDI, Toyota Camry Hybrid, Nissan Altima Hybrid, Volkswagen Jetta TDI, Toyota Yaris, Toyota Corolla, Mini Cooper, Honda Fit, Ford Escape Hybrid, Honda Civic, Kia Rio and Hyundai Accent.

The top “earth savers”, in order of combined emissions performance, are the Honda Civic Hybrid, Toyota Prius, Toyota Camry Hybrid, Nissan Altima Hybrid, Honda Accord Hybrid, Ford Escape Hybrid, Toyota Yaris, Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra, Honda Fit, Honda Civic, Kia Rio, Hyundai Accent, Pontiac Vibe/Toyota Matrix, Nissan Versa and Nissan Sentra.

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