A joint BCAA/Pollution Probe analysis done for Clean Air Day (June 6) shows most, but not all, fuel efficient cars are also the easiest on the environment.
Results show that gas-electric hybrids top both the cleanest and most economical lists while fuel-sipping diesels slip down the list because they emit more air pollutants.
The BCAA/Pollution Probe analysis uses Natural Resources Canada (EnerGuide) data to rank vehicles according to fuel economy,and relies on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data to derive Greenhouse Gas (GHG) and air pollution emission scores.
“With so much focus on climate change, we tend to only think about a vehicle’s greenhouse gas emissions when measuring its impact on the environment,” says Trace Acres, BCAA’s director of corporate communications and government affairs.
“But BCAA believes it’s also important to consider a vehicle’s impact on the air we breathe, as well as its contribution to climate change.”
Comparing fuel economy with overall emissions, the Honda Civic hybrid and the Toyota Prius hybrid top both lists.
But that’s where the similarities end, as the highly efficient Mercedes Smart fortwo and VW diesels can’t match the overall emission scores of their gas-powered counterparts.
“Today, diesel-powered cars do not compete with their gasoline-powered counterparts on smog forming emissions performance, but that could soon change,” says Bob Oliver, Pollution Probe transportation programme director.
“Federal low sulphur fuel regulations combined with more stringent emission standards should drive the development of cleaner diesel technologies.
“Look for cleaner diesel vehicle options to start arriving in 2008.”
With over 771,000 members and $115 million in revenues, BCAA is the largest organization of its kind in B.C. and the fourth largest CAA-affiliated association in Canada.
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