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Honda Retains ‘Greenest Automaker’ Title in UCS Rankings

Robert Bienenfeld, senior manager, environmental and energy strategy, for American Honda, shares the company’s views on the future of the automobile and its “portfolio approach” to environmental technologies.

Honda also has retained its “Greenest Automaker” title for the fifth consecutive year in the latest automaker rankings from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), edging out Toyota and Hyundai, which tied for second place.

“It was a photo finish, but Honda is still the champ,” said Jim Kliesch, a senior engineer in UCS’s Clean Vehicles Program and the author of the rankings report, in a statement. “Toyota was poised to take the lead, but stalled in its efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Meanwhile, Hyundai’s fleet saw dramatic efficiency improvements, pushing the company into a title contender spot.”

The “Automaker Rankings” evaluate automakers’ real-world environmental performance by ranking them based on average per-mile smog pollution and global warming emissions of the entire fleet of vehicles sold. The analysis is based on model year 2008 data, the latest available.

The science organization scores each of the top eight automakers against the “industry average” of all eight combined, said UCS. The methodology weighs smog and global warming scores equally to determine each automaker’s overall score. With the industry average assigned a score of 100, automakers’ scores reflect how far above or below average an automaker pollutes. Lower scores are better; higher scores are worse.

Honda scored 86, reflecting a 14 percent cleaner fleet than that of the top eight manufacturers combined. Toyota and Hyundai each scored 87. Volkswagen came in fourth place (90), followed by Nissan (93), Ford (108), General Motors (109) and Chrysler (113).

UCS said the three Detroit automakers have consistently placed at the bottom of the rankings with Ford generally ranking the best.

General Motors’ next to last place ranking was due to its continued focus on inefficient vehicles with “lackluster” smog performance, said UCS. The average smog emissions of GM’s hybrids were worse than the combined average of all eight manufacturers’ model year 2008 vehicles (hybrid and nonhybrid), according to the report.

However, the report finds that all of the automakers have improved their performance since UCS first ranked them, starting with model year 1998, and the gap between the worst and best automaker has narrowed.

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