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Do new vehicles in Europe actually emit less CO2 than previous models or have automakers simply discovered techniques to skew the results of emissions tests?

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2010 Smart ForTwo – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4 – Click above for high-res image gallery

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In the automotive industry, dropping below the 100 g/km CO2 emissions benchmark is no easy task. Aside from a few vehicles like the TwinAir two-cylinder Fiat 500 and the 1.0-liter Hyundai i10, seldom do we see gasoline- or diesel-powered autos venture into the rarified ranks of the sub-100 g/km CO2 club. Now, Volvo aims to change that with the introduction of two more models powered by the company's Euro 5-compliant 1.6-liter diesel mill.

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Hyundai i10 electric – Click above for high-res image

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According to a new report from the UK trade group Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the average CO2 emissions of new cars sold there have continued a steady downward trend in the first half of this year. Thanks to increasing sales of cars specifically developed to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, the average for the new vehicle fleet was down to just 145.2 grams / kilometer by June.

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Cutting CO2 emissions is a driving force behind the development of more fuel-efficient vehicles and cleaner-burning engines. Reduced CO2 is also a prime reason that vehicles such as hybrids and electrics have begun to capture sales across the globe. The global reduction of CO2 has been a focus of governments for quite some time now, but little progress has been made. Perhaps the lack of progress can be attributed to a lack of spending to address the problem.

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In the U.S., we can buy hybrids, a few diesels and, soon, some serious plug-in vehicle contenders. But, on the whole, we're a dirty, dirty car market. At least, so says a new report from automotive data provider JATO Dynamics. JATO compared the American light vehicle market for the first quarter of 2010 to the markets in Europe and Japan and came away with the following results:

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Nissan Leaf EV – Click above for high-res image gallery

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The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has announced that the "cool cars" regulation has been canceled. "Cool cars" tried to reduce the need for air conditioning in new vehicles by mandating that their windows reflect or absorb a portion of the heat-producing rays from the sun. The decision to abort the contentious regulation came after CARB announced a report evaluating the potential electromagnetic interference on certain portable devices such as cell phones, global positioning systems (GPS

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2009 Smart Fortwo – Click above for high-res image gallery

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We're not against a silly flash game that teaches us a fact or two about green cars or how to drive better, but one thing we do not need is a green car version of war/Top Trumps. But, this is what Green-Car-Guide.com has given us with the Green Car Game. If you want to learn, in detail and kind of randomly, what the CO2 emissions are for various vehicles offered for sale in the UK, the Green Car Game will allow you to do that. If you want "an innovative and engaging new way to raise awareness of

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Sure, there might be a fleet of advanced technology vehicles cruising the streets of Copenhagen this week and next for the COP 15 Copenhagen United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009, but that doesn't mean that literally tons of CO2 won't be emitted during the talks.

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Ferrari F430 Spider Bio-Fuel – Click above for high-res image gallery

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