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 |  Oct 13 2010, 7:50 PM

Honda makes being green look easy. That’s why they are holding on to the “Greenest Automaker” title from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), making this their fifth year running.

Honda squeaked ahead of Toyota and Hyundai (both tied for second), beating the two by just one point. “It was a photo finish, but Honda is still the champ,” said Jim Kliesch, a senior engineer in UCS’s Clean Vehicles Program and the author of the rankings report. “Toyota was poised to take the lead, but stalled in its efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Meanwhile, Hyundai’s fleet saw dramatic efficiency improvements, pushing the company into a title contender spot.”

The UCS’s “Automaker Rankings” analyzes the real-world environmental performance and ranks them on average per-mile smog pollution and global warming emissions of the entire fleet of vehicles sold. They score the top eight automakers against the “industry average” of all eight combined. By weighing  smog and global warming scores equally, the scientists are able to determine each automaker’s overall score. The industry average is assigned a score of 100, and each automakers’ scores reflect how far above or below average an automaker pollutes. The lower the score, the greener the automaker is.

Honda came in first with a score of 86, while Toyota and Hyundai each finished with 87. Volkswagen came in fourth place (90), followed by Nissan (93), Ford (108), General Motors (109) and Chrysler (113). Rounding out the bottom was Chrysler, who was deemed the dirtiest automaker (they have finished last in four of the five UCS rankings conducted over the past ten years).

[Source: Union of Concerned Scientists]

 |  Aug 24 2010, 2:38 AM

Canadians are more likely to go electric when buying a new car compared to Americans, says research from a new study.

Conducted by Synovate, a global market research firm, the company polled 1,800 new car buyers in the U.S. and 800 new car buyers in Canada. The study dealt with current petroleum based power-trains (internal combustion, diesel, flex-fuel, natural gas) and electric power trains (hybrids, plug-in hybrids, battery and fuel cell).

In the study, Synovate asked respondents about what type of engine they would like in their future vehicle. They found that Americans had a stronger preference for internal combustion engines (61 percent) than Canadians (53 percent). When it came to a hybrid engine, the neighbors tied with 64 percent stating their preference.

But when it came to other electric technologies such as plug-in hybrids, Canadian respondents came out with a stronger preference (34 percent) than Americans (27 percent). The results were similar when it came to pure battery electric vehicles as well (29 percent Canadians versus 24 percent Americans).

According to Stephen Popiel, senior vice president of Synovate Motoresearch, “Canadians clearly want “greener”, more environmentally friendly vehicles. We seem to be more driven than Americans on reducing emissions while they are more concerned about fuel costs.” Reaffirming their green ways, Canadian respondents were more likely to be looking for ways to reduce their CO2 levels (28 percent) than American respondents (23 percent). The American respondents were more likely to be looking for ways to minimize fuel costs (64 percent Americans versus 58 percent Canadians).

On the subject of Flex Fuel, Canadian respondents did not see E85, the blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, as an option. The Canadians surveyed were much less familiar with E85 (16 percent familiarity in Canada versus 26 percent in the USA) and have a weaker preference for E85 (21 percent in Canada versus 31 percent in the US).

 |  Jul 21 2010, 12:32 PM

Prince Charles is shutting down The Mall in London to display environmentally friendly vehicles for 10 days in September. The Prince is not only a keen environmentalist but a collector of Aston Martins and other sports cars, and the nexus of both conservation and automobiles is an appropriate area of interest for him.

The Prince of Wales’ Start Festival, as the event is called, will kick off on September 5th with a race between Charles’ train (which runs on biodiesel) and a fleet of green vehicles, which will take them from Glasgow to London. The Fesitval will celebrate more than just cars, as all kinds of green products will be featured alongside the auto exhibit.

Entry to the Start Festival will cost £15, but the car display will be free on September 12th. The Festival runs until September 15th.

[Source: Autocar]