For the fourth year in a row, Honda took the top spot, although it's score actually worsened compared to its 2003 numbers. Toyota moved up to second place by cutting the global warming pollution from its vehicles. GM also saw it's numbers improve, while all other automakers' environmental scores worsened.
The performance of 10 vehicle classes produced by 8 automakers were analyzed. These classes combined represent 96 percent of the U.S. car and light truck market for model year 2005. Don MacKenzie, a vehicles engineer at UCS, was the report's author:
"There is a huge gap between the cleanest and dirtiest automakers. The winners are using clean technology across their entire fleets. The losers are installing it piecemeal, or not at all."Interestingly, the report concluded that the loophole that inflates the fuel economy ratings for vehicles that use gasoline and ethanol, called a flex-fuel vehicles (FFV) does more harm than good. From the report:
"The E85 currently available provides only a 16 percent reduction in global warming emissions compared with the gasoline it replaces, but automakers receive a 65 percent bonus on the credited fuel economy of FFVs. As a result, even if FFVs used E85 100 percent of the time, this would still not compensate for the fuel economy loophole. Manufacturers would do much more to reduce global warming emissions if they satisfied fuel economy standards by selling more efficient vehicles, rather than exploiting the dual-fuel loophole. In fact, if Nissan had actually produced a fleet of vehicles as efficient as it was given credit for, its global warming score would have been good enough to put it ahead of Hyundai-Kia in combined scores, into third place overall."
Ford was the cleanest of the Detroit automakers, finishing sixth.
DaimlerChrysler came in dead last with the worst scores for both smog and global warming pollution. Its cars and trucks emit 70 percent more smog-causing pollutants and almost 30 percent more global warming pollutants per mile than those made by Honda.