Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Hawai'i's greenest and meanest car choices

Transportation choices make up 30 percent of the Hawai'i resident's contribution to greenhouse gas production, and there's a new list of what to do about that.

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy has issued its ranking for the most and least environmentally appropriate cars on the market for 2009.

(Image: Chevrolet's Cobalt XFE is the highest ranking American car on the list. Photo: Chevrolet.)

In its list of the greenest and the meanest, oddly, it's not a hybrid at the top—it's the natural gas car, the Honda Civic GX. But the hybrids come next, with Toyota's Prius in second and the Honda Civic hybrid third.

This list is not based purely on fuel economy. In fact, the hybrids above get better fuel economy than the Civic GX. Instead, it's based on a formula that includes overall polluting emissions, fuel economy, greenhouse gas emissions and cost of the fuel it uses and other factors. Details on the ranking system are here.

The information is all in ACEEE’s Green Book® Online. Best I can determine, you need to subscribe, at a fee, to get a copy of the entire book, which has all sorts of other information, although there's a great deal of info free on the website.

Among the lowest ranked cars on the list are the Hummer H2 FFV, Lamborghini's Murcielago and GMC's Yukon 2500. It's an American-European sweep for the dozen worst—there are no Asian-made cars in there.

U.S. carmakers managed to get two vehicles in the dozen greenest, the Chevy Cobalt XFE/Pontiac G5 XFE and the Chevy Aveo/Aveo5. Europe got two more, the Mini Cooper/Clubman and the Smart Fortwo. Otherwise it's all Honda and Toyota, with three each, and Nissan and Kia, with one each.

Among the most popular vehicles in Hawai'i is the compact pickup. The highest ranking of these is he manual transmission Ford Ranger/Mazda B2300 (they're the same vehicle with different names.) If you need an automatic pickup, you give up a little fuel economy, and the result is a big fat tie between the Toyota Tacoma, the Ford Ranger/Mazda B2300 and the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon.

And there's some good news on the environmental front. ACEEE is seeing some increased efficiencies as automakers tweak their cars for better environmental performance.

“With upward movement at the bottom and near the top of the offerings, it’s tempting to conclude that the U.S. is really greening its fleet,” said ACEEE vehicle analyst Shruti Vaidyanathan. “Sales figures will tell whether we’re really turning a corner, but putting more fuel-efficient models out there gives consumers a real choice.”

His point is that it doesn't much matter what cars they make if nobody will drive them. And, of course, in this economy, fewer folks are buying new cars, meaning the older inefficient cars stay on the road longer.

©2009 Jan TenBruggencate

1 comment:

Keahi Pelayo said...

Its good to see a US auto maker do so well. Now hopefully people will buy it.