Friday, March 24, 2006

A car is most likely one of the most expensive thing you'll buy in your life. Assuming of course that you WILL buy a car at some point. And also assuming that you haven't simply cleaned up your old Undie500 entry for civvy use.

By now we all know that vehicle emissions are a massive contributor to global warming. In New Zealand the transport sector (dominated by private vehicles) contributes 40% of our CO2 emissions and has increased dramatically since 1990. The average Kiwi car is 11 years old and has got a lot bigger since 1990 - and bigger is certainly not better. So before going shopping for a new car it may help to know whose emissions are lining up to stink your ride.

In the 2006 AA Motoring Excellence Awards Hyundai was the winner in the environmental category. Nice. But Hyundai accounted for less than 5% of new vehicle sales in the year to Feb06. Toyota, Holden, Ford, and Honda make up almost 50% of new car sales (in that order of popularity too).

Unfortunately the only hybrid cars you can buy in NZ are Honda and Toyota. Holden and Ford seem (to me) to be tainted with the motorsport brush - where V8s fly around Mt Panorama chugging out kilo's of carbon to the pleasure of thousands of sweaty ozzie blokes. Ford have some nice words to say about the environment on their website, and link to Ford global's efforts, but a search on the Holden website yields no meaningful results for "efficiency" or "emissions".

Honda won a significant 2005 Business Ethics Award for their package of environmental contributions. Buy any new car from them and they'll even plant native trees in return. In the US its constantly Honda and Toyota at the top of fuel efficiency test results but it has been acknowledged that Honda does better out of the test lab.

In the 2004 Energy Wise Rally Toyota cleaned up in the efficiency and overall categories with their Prius hybrid. The rally showed that although
the human element played a part, if you want to guzzle the gas and chug the carbon you're best in a Ford. But right now, both Hyundai and Honda have comprehensive environmental information on their websites, they've been getting the right press, and have picked up recent awards. Big ups to Honda and Hyundai.

No comments: