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Green Car Purchasers More Likely to Pay with Green

Buyers used cash more often for alternative fuel vehicle, study shows.

by on Apr.22, 2015

The Toyota Prius was the most registered green car last year, according to Experian.

If you’re looking to buy a green vehicle, it appears you’re more likely to simply drop a bunch of green to do it, according to a recent study.

Buyers of alternative fuel vehicles last year were more likely to pay cash for their EV or hybrid than those purchasing a vehicle with a traditional internal combustion engine, said Experian Automotive.

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Sales of those vehicles have been in the decline through the first quarter of this year, but those buying them are pretty much a sure thing for automakers. More than 18% of consumers that purchased a “Green” vehicle paid in cash, compared to 15.2% of those that purchased a gas-powered vehicle, the company said. (more…)

Smart Electric Drive Named America’s “Greenest” Vehicle; Ram 2500 the “Meanest”

Battery cars, hybrids dominate Top 10, while full-size pickups and sports car rank at the bottom.

by on Jan.28, 2014

The third-generation Smart Fortwo Electric Drive is named the "Greenest Vehicle" on U.S. roads.

The 2-seat Smart ForTwo Electric Drive battery car is the most environmentally friendly vehicle on American roads, according to the 2014 Greenest Vehicles list, with an assortment of battery-electric vehicles, plug-ins, hybrids – and one natural gas model – rounding out the Top 10.

The Smart ED, as it’s often called, scored a record 59 out of 100 possible points, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.  But Toyota and Honda overwhelming dominate the ACEEE list of “Greenest” models.  At the other end of the spectrum, Chrysler’s Ram 2500 gets razzed as the “Meanest” vehicle on the market with a score of just 18.

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“We’ve had such an influx of hybrid and electric vehicles in recent years that the race to earn a spot on the “Greenest” list is more competitive than ever, particularly for conventional vehicles,” said ACEEE lead vehicle analyst Shruti Vaidyanathan, adding that, “It’s encouraging to see automakers investing heavily in eco-savvy vehicles on the whole.”


California Regulators Want 1.4 Mil Zero-Emission Vehicles on Road

CARB wants to cut CO2 emissions on gas models by half.

by on Dec.13, 2011

New California rules would put as many as 1.4 million zero-emission vehicles, like this Mitsubishi battery car, on the road.

The California Air Resources Board has released a new set of policies aimed at cutting vehicle pollution, guarantee consumer access to clean fuels and “foster” the development of zero-emission car technology. The major changes in policies will apply to new vehicles sold through 2025.

The new plans includes the most significant changes to the Zero Emissions Vehicles (ZEV) program in its 20-year history—requiring battery, fuel cell, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to account for 1.4 million new vehicle sales in the state between 2018 and 2025,pushing carmakers to increase the introduction of vehicles with alternative powertrain technology. The rules are certain to prove controversial.

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The Clean Fuels Outlet (CFO) rules would require oil companies to install hydrogen refueling stations as automakers ramp up sales of fuel cell vehicles, ensuring consumers have access to fuel for these vehicles. The CFO also requires California to study infrastructure needs for vehicles that recharge from the electric grid. By 2025, California’s plan calls for a 75% reduction in smog-forming emissions from new cars and light truck tailpipes, the near elimination of evaporative emissions, and a reduction in toxic particulate matter.


Ford, VW, Toyota Win Kudos

Makers hailed for environmental, human rights practices.

by on Oct.24, 2011

Ford was one of three automakers honored for its environmental and social leadership.

Three automakers – Toyota Motor Corporation, Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen AG – have been recognized for their leadership in environmental policies and practices, human rights and their impact on the automotive supply chain through the development of strong workplace policies and programs, and leading product safety policies and practices.

“Global automakers are making major strides in the right direction on several key issues,” noted Rebecca Henson, an analyst for Calvert Investments.

The Calvert Sustainability Research Department reviewed the environmental, social and governance, or ESG, practices of leading automakers before naming the three as industry leaders.

“This is an encouraging development that reflects the emergence of more thoughtful industry leaders who recognize that ESG considerations are now essential. Companies like Ford, Volkswagen, and Toyota are industry leaders on certain ESG issues, in ways that should inspire and guide other automakers that still have some way to go to catch up to them,” she added.

Calvert’s investment evaluation of auto companies took into consideration seven environmental, social and corporate governance criteria including workplace practices, human rights, Indigenous Peoples’ rights, governance and ethics, product quality and safety, community relations and environment.

The Calvert Report included an assessment of U.S. manufacturers Ford and General Motors; the largest  European auto company, Volkswagen; the largest Japanese manufacturer, Toyota; and a leading luxury/performance company, BMW.

The review found that, despite the recent economic turmoil, the American auto industry has emerged with a fundamentally different and more positive approach to sustainability, more focused on making cleaner, more efficient vehicles and less resistant to more aggressive fuel economy and emissions standards. The review has also found that the industry appears more focused on vehicle safety, particularly in light of recent unintended acceleration problems. Moreover, some automakers are increasingly trying to stay ahead of the curve on emerging sustainability issues, such as concerns over conflict minerals.

Calvert’s Sustainability Research Department routinely reviews the sustainability performance of an industry segment to keep the company abreast of emerging ESG issues and to update the Calvert Signature Strategy sustainability criteria. This process allows the department to refine its analysis of industry developments and provides the basis for updating sustainability criteria and its application to individual companies.