• Dec 28th 2009 at 1:00PM
  • 4

When we write about European vehicles, we usually include the standard XX grams of CO2 emitted per kilometer number that expresses how dirty a vehicle's tailpipe is. Since tailpipe emissions are (on liquid fuel vehicles) directly connected to how much fuel a vehicle burns, and it's usually a good gauge of how efficient the vehicle is. While the U.S. offers an official standardized miles per gallon number (despite some calls to shift to a gallons per mile system), there is a way to get a sort of g/km number here in the U.S.

The source is the EPA's Green Vehicle Guide, which rates vehicles based on tailpipe emissions and carbon-dioxide emissions. As Green Car Reports points out, this guide is a lot better for figuring out how clean a vehicle is than some of the media's efforts at ranking dirty vehicles (Forbes, we're all looking at you). There is some state-to-state variation, since 13 states use California's emission requirements, but at least there is a way to see which cars sold in the U.S. are literally cleaner than the rest.

Who comes out on top? The Ford Fusion Hybrid, the Honda Civic Hybrid, the Honda Insight, the Mercury Milan Hybrid, and the Toyota Prius all scored 10 out of 10 in the more stringent SmartWay Elite ranking.

[Source: EPA Green Vehicle Guide via Green Car Reports]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 4 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      The EPA site is very useful and clicking a model for details gives the specific pollutants (diesel fans, you're getting close). One minor objection is it doesn't incorporate pollution from the production of the vehicle. This is overwhelmed by the pollution from operation (even a Prius puts out 3 TONS of CO2 each year it's on the road according to the EPA, people who think a hundred pounds of batteries outweigh this are deluded), but a heavier car should have a slight penalty. WhatGreenCar tries to factor this into its own ratings.

      The DOE's fueleconomy.gov and the EPA's Green Vehicle Guide should merge, or at least acknowledge each other's existence!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Green Vehicle Guide and fueleconomy.gov still don't acknowledge the Tesla Roadster exists, even though the latter has a "Cars that don't need gasoline" that links to an empty list!
      • 5 Years Ago
      You crow that you reveal and publish 'emitted per kilometer number that expresses how dirty a vehicle's tailpipe is' . That statement is entirely falacious.

      The figure merely reveals the emissions of CO2 which is NOT a measure of how much genuine toxic emissions, are emitted. CO2 may or may not contribute, to a phenomenon called AGW, but in any case, it is not a genuine health hazard in the sense that NOx, SOx or other genuine toxics are.

        • 5 Years Ago
        "CO2 may or may not contribute, to a phenomenon called AGW"
        Of course it does. It's a greenhouse gas, its level is rising. Please cite a paper that credibly explains the sustained 0.6°C warming we're in right now without acknowledging the contribution of greenhouse gases. Even Max Planck arguing for an increased contribution from solar put it at 30%.

        "but in any case, it is not a genuine health hazard in the sense that NOx, SOx or other genuine toxics are."
        Air pollution is bad and kills tens of thousands of people a year. To pick just one bad outcome from global warming, as the glaciers that provide reliable water for about a billion people retreat, tens of millions of people are at risk of malnutrition and death.

        Justice Scalia agrees with you, but the majority of the supremes decided in 2007 that CO2 is a pollutant under the Clean Air Act.