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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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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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2008 saw the biggest drop ever in CO2 emissions from new vehicles sold in the UK, with a year over year reduction of 4.2 percent. Wtih a fleetwide average of just 158 g/km, cars amount to just 11.5 percent of total UK carbon dioxide emissions. The combination of rapid escalation in fuel prices in 2008 and congestion charges in cities like London undoubtedly pushed many car buyers to some of the low emissions specials like the VW Polo BlueMotion, Smart ForTwo CDi and Ford Fiesta ecoNetic. Automa

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According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the average new car is producing 3.8-percent fewer carbon emissions so far this year than last. Since 1997, the first year that the SMMT began reporting the figure, the overall CO2 emissions are down an amazing 16.4-percent. It's not just the vehicles themselves that are getting cleaner, as the entire manufacturing process is cleaning up its act. According to the report, the "energy needed to produce each vehicle is down 12%, water use

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It looks like European automakers are winning their battle against the proposed European Union limits on automotive CO2 emissions. While the European Commission had proposed a limit of 120 g/km for the vehicle fleet by 2012, manufacturers where claiming the limit was too aggressive. The members of parliament apparently agreed, with the Industry and Energy Committee voting 35-21 to slow things down. Instead of having the entire fleet meet the requirement, only 60 percent of vehicles will have to

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California has announced a very ambitious plan to reduce pollution by 10 percent from current levels by 2020. If we take the forecasted population increase into account, that means that the state intends to reduce annual emissions to 10 tons of CO2 per person in 2020 from 14 tons per person currently.

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Toyota had an ad in Belgium that included the words "Zero emissions low." While the Prius is a model with very low CO2 emissions, they're certainly not zero and the claim has been considered misleading. The advertisement did not contain any CO2 emission or fuel consumption data, as is obliged under Belgian law, and thus violated European labeling directive 1999/94/EC. Friends of the Earth Europe's car efficiency campaigner, Jeroen Verhoeven, filed the complaint. "Car manufacturers are using 'gre

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Upcoming fuel economy regulations in the U.S. and carbon dioxide emissions limits in Europe appear set to take a bite out of the next generation Saab 9-3. The current 9-3 is derived from GM's Epsilon platform and the new 9-3 was due to come off the Epsilon II that underpins the new Opel Insignia, but a change may be in the works. GM has reportedly canceled the Epsilon II-based 9-3 in favor of a model built off the Global Compact Car platform that will be the basis of the next Astra/Cobalt and, o

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The UK treasury is going to remove the Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) exemption on older cars (in this case, "older cars" means those registered between March 2001 and March 2006). When the exemption was instituted, the intention was to avoid economic damage to owners who already owned cars that polluted more than 225 g of CO2/km. However, the Treasury now says that it would be good for these cars to be off of British roads and is encouraging owners to purchase more fuel-efficient cars. Therefore, go

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Photo by kadavy. Licensed under Creative Commons license 2.0.

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Austria is also changing its taxing system to "punish" the most polluting cars on the road. The new tax scheme, which is called NoVa-Reform, consists of a bonus-malus system that saves or adds taxes to cars depending on a number of factors.

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Angela Merkel, Germany's chancellor, firmly believes that the EU should be the leaders of the fight against climate change. That's why she's asked Germany's fellow members in the EU to accomplish their Kyoto Treat figures. A different policy would cause Europeans to lose their legitimacy as eco-leaders, she said.

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The number of new cars sold every year is just a tiny fraction of all the cars on the road. There are currently somewhere around 230 million cars on the road in the US and only about 16-17 million new cars per year. The number of second-hand cars that are sold annually dwarfs those sales with an estimated 44 million sales in 2005. It now turns out that just like new car buyers, used car buyers (at least in the UK) are also becoming more aware of the environmental impact of the vehicles they buy.

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