Missing from auto-industry advertising are the contributions from SUVs' to
the brown haze of air pollution hanging over many of our national parks,
images of weather disasters linked to global warming or the oil derricks and
tankers needed to feed gas-guzzling SUVs.
In contrast to Detroit's carefully crafted image, SUVs have a dark side.
Most SUVs and pickups, and all vans, are permitted to emit 29% to 47%
more carbon monoxide (CO) and 75% to 175% more nitrogen oxides (NOx)
than passenger cars.
They also cost the owner thousands more on gasoline.
Take a look at the Health Affects of auto emissions!
The Fuel Economy Guide for model years 1985 through 2004
Lookup gas mileage (MPG), greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution ratings, and safety information for new and used cars and trucks
Tailpipe Tally - From Environmental Defense...
Another great site to look up your car's emissions and compare it to more efficient cars.
The More You Guzzle, The More You Pollute
Represented below is the total tonnage of CO2 produced by SUVs and other vehicles over a 124,000-mile lifetime.
|Make/Model||Gas Mileage||tons of CO2|
|Ford Excursion||13 mpg||134|
|Jeep Grand Cherokee||18 mpg||96|
|Ford Taurus||23 mpg||74|
|Honda Civic HX||36 mpg||48|
|Honda Insight||65 mpg||23|
Here's a sampling of 2004 Emissions Ratings from the EPA:
(1-10, 1 is worst)
Lbs. of smog-forming pollution
per 15K miles driven
|Ford Explorer||4 (8 to 12 lbs.)|
|LandRover Discovery||1 (44 to 59 lbs.)|
|GMC Yukon 1500||3 (27 to 36 lbs.)|
|Volvo V70||8 (5 to 6 lbs.)|
|Subaru Outback||6 (12 to 13 lbs.)|
|VW Jetta Wagon||8 (5 to 6 lbs.)|
|Toyota Sienna||8 (5 to 6 lbs.)|
|Dodge Caravan||8 (5 to 6 lbs.)|
|Honda Odyssey||6 (12 to 13 lbs.)|
Emission Standard Level (listed from least clean to cleanest)
||The least stringent emission
||Transitional Low Emission Vehicle
||More stringent than Tier 1 standards
for hydrocarbons (HC) |
||Low Emission Vehicle
||More stringent than TLEV standards for
both hydrocarbons (HC) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) |
||Ultra Low Emission Vehicle
||More stringent than LEV standards for
||Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle
||Even more stringent standards than ULEV
for both HC and NOx |
||Zero Emission Vehicle
||The strictest emission standard,
permitting no emissions
Graphical representations of the emission
standards for hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides are shown below:
February 6 - Red card for gas guzzling cars in pollution clampdown - The Guardian, UK
UK - Cars will carry colour-coded labels warning potential buyers of their impact on climate change under measures to be launched by the government this week. Four-wheel drives will suffer the ignominy of having to display red stickers, while small, fuel-efficient models will sport labels in shades of green.
December 8 - Japanese carmakers still rated "greenest" - Seattle Times
Honda Motor got the highest rank in the Union of Concerned Scientists' biennial report, which focused on 2003 vehicles from the six largest automakers in the U.S. market in terms of sales.
Honda vehicles produced less than half the pollution of the industry average, the report said. General Motors ranked lowest, with a fleet that produced a third more pollution than average.
November 16 - Best Place for SUVs is Parked in the Garage, Says Energy Chief - American Int'l Auto Dealers
Asked if he, Claude Mandil, head of the International Energy Agency, was saying consumers should boycott SUVs, he offered: "I’m not saying, ’Stop buying SUVs.’ Go ahead and buy them, but just keep them parked at home."
September 24 - California air board adopts vehicle emission cuts - Reuters
The plan, which is being watched closely by the automobile industry and other states, would require automakers to cut gas emissions from cars and trucks by about 30 percent by using more efficient engines and transmissions and improved air conditioning systems.
September 23 - Calif. Panel Weighs Greenhouse Gas Plan for Cars - Reuters
A plan to require automakers to cut greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks by about 30 percent is expected to be approved on Thursday by the California Air Resources Board, backers and opponents said. The plan, the first of its kind among U.S. states, would phase in reductions of carbon dioxide and other gases linked to global warming in two four-year steps for cars and trucks sold in California from 2009 through 2016.
September 16 - Honda Showcases Its Zero Emission FCX Fuel Cell Vehicle - PR Newswire
"Honda's work on hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles has progressed rapidly and we look forward to the ultimate commercial success of these zero-emission vehicles," said Ben Knight, vice president of Honda R&D Americas.
June 14 - The Greenhouse Gas War - The Motley Fool
The Golden State will soon unveil aggressive regulations that will force automakers to lower greenhouse gas emissions on their models by 30% by 2015. The new rules, which would go into effect in 2009 and be fully phased in over several years, mark the first effort to regulate gases such as carbon dioxide. The ambitious goals may present a difficult challenge for many automakers.
May 13 - Air pollution linked to inherited mutations - MSNBC.com
Airborne particles from factories, power plants and diesel-burning vehicles have been tied to a growing list of health problems. Sooty air pollution can cause genetic damage that can be passed along to offspring, Canadian researchers reported Thursday in a study on mice.
April 15 - EPA: Nearly 1 in 5 Counties Has Unhealthy Air - Reuters
The Environmental Protection Agency will announce that about 470 of the nation's 2,700 counties in 31 states have unacceptable levels of ground-level ozone, a major ingredient in smog, up from 221 under the previous guidelines. About 170 million Americans live in counties that violate the new standards.
April 13 - Cleaner Electricity, Cars And Trucks Can Save Consumers Billions of Dollars - US NewsWire
Using a U.S. Department of Energy computer model and assumptions, UCS found that consumers would save $26 billion-$11 billion in lower electricity bills and $15 billion in lower natural gas bills -- by using more wind, solar, geothermal and other renewable resources. Increasing the nation's use of renewable electricity sources to 20 percent of the mix by 2020 would reduce both electricity and natural gas prices, according to the UCS analysis
April 13 - Clear Skies No More for Millions as Pollution Rule Expands - New York Times
On April 15, the Environmental Protection Agency will release a list of about 500 counties that violate or contribute to violations of ground-level ozone, more than double the number listed under older standards. Ground-level ozone, which is odorless and invisible, is a major component of smog on hot summer days. Prolonged exposure causes the equivalent of sunburn to the lungs.
April 2 - 1960s Hard-Core Environmentalism Replaced by "Light-Green" Policies - NewsWise
"The original Greens back in the 1960s believed that to protect the environment, we needed to make sacrifices, such as purchasing fewer manufactured goods." Bess explained that although this concept has never been widely accepted by the general population, many citizens here and overseas still take seriously the idea of making tangible changes to help the environment.
"Our society has bought the green message, but it is not in the full dark-green version that the original activists of the 1960s advocated," said Bess, author of The Light-Green Society: Ecology and Technological Modernity in France, 1960-2000 (University of Chicago Press). Although Bess characterizes many nations' environmental actions as light green, that does not mean there have been only small changes in consumer purchases and habits.
February 10 - Ranking shows greenest, meanest cars - MSNBC.com
An annual ranking of the "greenest" and "meanest" cars sold in the United States found that no American vehicles got the best grades -- those all went to Japanese carmakers. The worst score, meanwhile, went to a newcomer on the list: the diesel version of VW's Touareg SUV.
August 20 - Calif. home to nation's three worst places to breathe SJ Mercury News
``The number of cars and trucks on the road has increased; the number of trips taken has increased; the number of miles driven is increasing,'' said Dr. Howard Frumkin, a member of the American Public Health Association. ``In most cases, this is the leading cause of air pollution.''
Vehicles are responsible for up to 57 percent of the valley's pollution, according to regional air regulators.
July 15 - S.U.V. Owners Fight Back - New York Times
SUV's and their owners have been criticized by many groups in recent years because the vehicles — which make up an estimated 25 percent of the nation's automobile market — have higher fuel-consumption rates than cars and often higher emissions. The government is looking into safety concerns about S.U.V.'s, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans to make consumers more aware of the increased risk of rollovers in the vehicles.
July 11, 2002 - Californians hate air pollution, love cars - Reuters
The Public Policy Institute of California released a study on Thursday showing that 58 percent of Californians consider air pollution a "serious health threat," and 68 percent believe there has been little to no progress in dealing with the problem over the last 20 years.
But while 47 percent of the state's residents cited vehicle emissions as the top contributor to California's notorious yellow-brown smog, only 44 percent said they were "very" or "somewhat" concerned that their own cars polluted too much.
July 11, 2002 - Special Survey on Californians and the Environment - Public Policy Institute of California
This is the 37th PPIC Statewide Survey and the fifth in a series of eight surveys that will focus on population growth, land use, and the environment. This survey focuses in particular on public perceptions, individual actions, and policy preferences relating to air quality issues.
Dec. 4 - Honda fleet least polluting in U.S.: DaimlerChrysler finishes last
The average 2001 model year truck spewed 2.4 times more smog-forming pollution and 1.4 times more CO2 emissions than the average 2001 car.
Nov. 30 - Study: Arctic ice will be gone by end of the century
The findings have huge implications for the global climate. Arctic snow and ice play a key role in controlling the planet's temperature. They act as insulation, keeping heat and moisture in the land and ocean and out of the atmosphere.
But once the ice and snow are gone, that dynamic will end and this will affect climate all over the planet in ways scientists have not yet fathomed.
Oct. 8 - Climate Related Perils Could Bankrupt Insurers
Climate change is causing natural disasters that the financial services industry must address, a group of the world's biggest banks, insurers and re-insurers warned Monday. They estimated the cost of financial losses from events such as this summer's devastating floods in central Europe at $150 billion over the next 10 years.
Sept. 2 - Hog Wild for Pollution Trading: Why environmental markets are becoming a very big deal
"The result? SO2 emissions have fallen faster, further, and at less cost than anyone dared expect, and the system has been extended to more than 2,000 power plants. Even as the economy has grown, SO2 emissions are on track to fall to half their 1980 levels by 2010..."
July 22 - Calif. Governor Signs Landmark Auto Emissions Law
California Gov. Gray Davis Monday signed a landmark bill making the state the first in the nation to regulate the vehicle greenhouse gas emissions scientists say contribute to global warming.
The legislation, which has been fiercely opposed by the auto industry, requires the California Air Resources Board to adopt regulations that would achieve "the maximum feasible reduction" in emissions of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, emitted by cars and light-duty trucks, the category that includes sport utility vehicles.
July 22 - The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturer's response to the law (pathetic!)
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an inert gas that occurs naturally in the atmosphere. It does not cause smog. People expel CO2 when they exhale....
July 10 - Calif. Tailpipe bill next step to clean air?
If Davis signs proposed legislation, it would shake up auto industry... The bill directs regulators to draw up the ``maximum feasible reduction'' in vehicle emissions of so-called greenhouse gases - chiefly carbon dioxide - blamed for warming up the globe.
June 21 - Tell EPA to Stop Pushing Misleading "Green" Vehicle Information
The Environmental Protection Agency's Green Vehicle
Guide website is misleading consumers about the environmental
performance of cars and trucks. Moreover, EPA has been
seeking a back-room deal with automakers to put a "green"
label on numerous below average vehicles. Help clean
up EPA's act on green vehicle information. Tell the
agency that they should be helping consumers purchase
cleaner cars, not helping Detroit "greenwash" products
that have not been designed with the environment in
Global Warming - Special Report - Washington Post
May 30 - God or SUV?
Ministers, rabbis and priests are becoming increasingly vocal with their congregations, urging members to both raise their voices against the plunder of the environment and to make personally responsible choices to safeguard it.
May 1 - Send a Letter to President Bush, Congress and EPA Administrator Whitman Today Demanding Strict Enforcement of the Clean Air Act
- from the American Lung Association ...
EPA Targets Non-Road Engines for Emission Reductions
Emissions from engines that are used in snowmobiles, yachts, off-road motorcycles and all terrain vehicles, and heavy machinery are targeted for reduction under a new US Environmental Protection Agency program...
Dec.13 - Toyota to Sell Zero Emission SUV in California starting Feb. 2000
Beginning in February 2002, Toyota will sell a zero emission electric vehicle version of its popular RAV4 sport utility vehicle (SUV) to retail customers in California... with a top speed of 78 miles per hour and an 80 to 100 mile range. Pretty cool.
Billions Could Be Saved With Increased Energy Efficiency Study Finds
With encreasing CAFE standards at the top of the list, a new study claims that billions of dollars can be saved...
New Diesel Engine Meets Tomorrow's Emission Standards, Green Diesel Engine Technology®
An example of how technology CAN meet higher environmental standards NOW!
Most Likely Scenario: The Earth Will Warm 4-7 Degrees
What more is there to say... scientists are finally willing to put a 90% chance
on the fact that the global average temperature will rise three to nine degrees Fahrenheit over the coming century, with a 4-7 degree increase most likely.
The Globe: Comforting SUV Owners?
An informed article on the way Ford, GM, and other SUV manufacturers have
obscured the truth from SUV owners on their environmental impact, and how they
have been keeping emissions standards at a minimum for light trucks.
Automobile and Light Truck Fuel Economy:
Is CAFE Up to Standards?, Congressional Research Service Issue Brief
Background on the "corporate average fuel economy (CAFE)" standards, and
how they have been marginalized in recent years to become ineffective in
controlling the environmental impact of SUVs through their higher emmissions
and lower fuel efficiency.
Sport Utility Vehicles, Mini-Vans and Light Trucks: An Overview of Fuel Economy and Emissions Standards, Congressional Research Service, Report for Congress
"Most sport utility vehicles, mini-vans, and pickups are classified as
"light trucks" and thus are regulated less stringently than passenger
cars under two major laws--the Energy Policy and Conservation Act for
fuel economy standards, and the Clean Air Act for emissions standards..."
Building a Greener Sport Utility Vehicle, Union of Concerned Scientists
"Sport utility vehicles (SUVs), minivans, and other light trucks now constitute half the new passenger vehicles purchased each year. Yet they inflict far greater damage to our environment than cars: 47 percent more smog-forming pollution and 43 percent more global-warming gases...."
Engine, Transmission Technologies Lead Ford SUV Fuel Gains, Ford Motor Company
Ford has recognized the problem with both emissions and fuel efficiency, and is making a half-hearted attempt at doing something about it... more than most manufacturers.
Auto CAFE Standards: Unsafe And Unwise At Any Level, The Heritage Foundation
An interesting article (although lacking in facts) from the opposing camp on how the CAFE standards are detrimental to safety...