Automotive

U.S. vehicle CO2 emissions still almost double Europe and Japan

U.S. vehicle CO2 emissions sti...
Gasoline fueled cars still dominate U.S. roads
Gasoline fueled cars still dominate U.S. roads
View 1 Image
Gasoline fueled cars still dominate U.S. roads
1/1
Gasoline fueled cars still dominate U.S. roads

Despite ongoing efforts to wean itself off the teat of foreign oil, the U.S. car market is still almost twice as polluting as Europe and Japan. This new finding from automotive data provider, JATO Dynamics, comes despite the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS) – better known as “cash for clunkers” – program that replaced over 690,000 vehicles on the roads with more fuel-efficient models and the fact that American consumers are significantly more inclined to adopt Hybrid technology than Europeans. Then why is it so?

JATO’s study of the U.S. light vehicle market in the first quarter of 2010 reveals that the market’s average CO2 output is 268.5 g/km. In order to reflect like-for-like comparison with car markets in other global regions, excluding pick-up trucks, full size vans and small commercial vehicles, the figure falls to 255.6 g/km. This figure compares very unfavorably to Japan (130.8 g/km) and Europe’s five biggest markets, which average 140.3 g/km.

All markets improved marginally when compared to the full-year average in 2009 with Japan’s CO2 output down 0.4 g/km, the USA down 1.0 g/km and Europe improving most significantly with a 4.3 g/km reduction in the year-to-date.

“It is still clear that American consumers need to undergo a fundamental re-think of their vehicle buying preferences, but the past period of economic upheaval is likely to have meant that other domestic issues have taken consumer’s priority”, says David Mitchell, President of JATO Americas. “The blame can’t just lie with consumers though, the OEM product offering in the US still does little to promote alternatives to the large engine capacity gasoline vehicles which still dominate the market.”

Gasoline, diesel and Hybrid cars

However, Americans consumers have taken a shine to Hybrids such as the Toyota Prius. Hybrids enjoy a 2.3 percent market share in the U.S., while in Europe it is still only 0.5 percent. Not surprisingly though, Japan leads the way with 10.1 percent of market share going to Hybrids. While they mightn’t have embraced Hybrids as much as Americans, Europeans have been able to reduce their CO2 emissions thanks to the rising popularity of diesel, a fuel which has a 48.9 percent market share in Europe. Conversely, Japan has a tiny diesel share of only 0.11 percent, but its highly congested roads make very small and economical gasoline cars a popular choice. Currently, the U.S. market is dominated by gasoline which has 81.9 percent market share, with only 1.7 percent being diesel.

Fuel too cheap?

JATO sees cost as a major factor in the difference between the popularity of different fuels and fuel technologies in different countries. The price of gasoline still remains comparatively low in the U.S. when compared to other global markets where its rising prices have been one of the key influences for change. Of the vehicles sold in the U.S. 33.9 percent fall within a 15-20 mpg consumption bracket, compared with only 0.63 percent in Japan and just 0.29 percent in Europe.

Carrot or stick?

JATO says varying CO2-based taxation regimes that reward or penalize certain technologies can also play a part in regional variances. Japan’s high-technology driven economy favors new technologies such as Hybrid and electric vehicles, while European vehicle "scrappage" schemes have contributed significantly to the introduction of a large number of low polluting, fuel-efficient small cars – something that “cash for clunkers” didn’t do to the same effect.

18 comments
Mark in MI
Politicians and consultants (apparantly paid for by oil and auto companies) often claim that it will cost many thousands of dollars to get the average US fuel economy to over 36 MPG. That is criminally incorrect! It will only take smaller engines. We are spoiled by huge thirsty engines and 5000 pound SUVs that go zero to sixty faster than the original Porshe 911! Wasteful and ridiculous. We can get 40 MPG CHEAPER by buying smaller engines in smaller cars. CAFE rules in the 70\'s pushed the public into SUVs and the current regs do little if anything to stop that by allowing people to get around mileage requirements simple by buying a larger vehicle. How dumb is that? All this assumes that those buyers must need a larger vehicle when that is just not true. We need to specify that trucks can only be sold to companies that need them to haul commercial goods, and enforce it by limiting those trucks to 65MPH, no DVD, no nice leather interior, no macho commercials, and keep increasing their mileage requirements too. Then we will see a real shift in pollution, energy dependance and security.
mrhuckfin
So if I\'m reading this right? The idea that U.S. cars pollute more than other cars is because of CO2 emissions? When are we going to get off this idea that CO2 is a pollutant? I wish I could figure out how to tune my Giant 5000 lb. SUV to emit pure CO2! Since when did it become greedy because I worked hard and could afford to do so, that getting any transportation I choose was a bad thing? I drive what I want (with in the limits of my income) and it is nothing less than criminal to impose some sort of made up tax over an invisible gas that is only the staff of life! If you want a small car and it suits your needs please feel free but don\'t impose your will on me. The planet will survive just fine no matter what we drive and technology will make them cleaner and better as time goes by, but the idea that some political group or party can tell industries or scientists that they must come up with what ever they think of when they say to is pure arrogance!
Patrik Nordberg
@mrhuckfin: If you seriously think that CO2 in higher amounts are not bad for the environment, animals or even people then why don\'t you try to fill a room full of it and the try to stay alive in that room. Do you really believe that the changes of the PH levels in the oceans has nothing to do with pollution. There\'s simple tests that could easily show you just how bad CO2 emissions can be if they reach high enough concentration. But I guess it\'s easier to stick you head in the sand and continue to be ignorant. Hey, what you cant see doesn\'t hurt you, right?
Lawrence Weisdorn
Why stay so focused on incremental decreases in emission when you can go to zero emission vehicles? Broad based support and adoption of battery only and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can put the fossil fuel era behind us once and for all.
Facebook User
This has little to do with the automobile or fuel and a lot to do with where we live, work and shop. Zoning laws over the last 60 to 70 years have created a situation where it\'s necessary to rely on the POV to do almost anything. The simple fact is, in almost any place in America, a person lives a long distance from where he or she works. Also, the distance between neighbors is so large as to make public transportation, at the outset, prohibitively expensive, and therefore politically impossible, and impracticable for the user. The ultimate solution is for people to live much closer to employment, schools, and shopping. Anything else is simply using bandages to cover a wound that will never heal.
windykites
Americans don\'t drive diesel cars, because their gas prices are relatively cheap, compared to Europe. mrfuckhin, nobody is going to tell you to drive an economical car, right? That attitude pervades America, and will only change when gas prices are hiked up. By the way, someone pointed out that the amount of oil coming of the leaking well is under such enormous pressure that it must be an enormous reservoir. So, is oil really running out?
Facebook User
The BP disaster in the Gulf is the end of big oil as we know it in this country. Couple that disaster with the increased availability of eco-friendly vehicles, and gasoline consumption in this country will plummet within 5 years.
Raines
The problem is that North America has to change its infrastructure. If all of sudden everyone drove alternative fuel vehicles the economy would be thrown for a loop. Think of all of the gas stations that would be obsolete or the mechanics that can no longer service the new vehicles. Also think about how these new vehicles will refuel themselves. Electric? Sure, but the current power grids couldn\'t handle that much extra demand. So far we haven\'t seen a clear winner in terms of vehicles that will run on an alternative fuel source(s). Once that becomes more evident then we can change the infrastructure and only then will we kick the fossil fuel addiction. There is too much attention on this problem for there not to be changes ahead. Large industry and policymakers do not move quickly. Patience...
Mark in MI
Lawrence, (don\'t need an @ here people!) mrhuckfin proves that a radical change is unpalatable to the uneducated, ignorant and just plain deniers because it doesn\'t benefit them, fit in their juvenile view of what gives them enjoyment (because they think they work hard and \"deserve\" to do whatever they want no matter what harm it does to themselves and others (sell him the lead paint)), or some oil industry shill told them so on their favorite anti-change rant radio talk show, and/or they are just too fearful of change all-together. But far more important than satisfying the lowest 1% of society is the fact that radical change is hard to do too quickly without proper industry in place. Companies need time to adjust, retool, and build infastructure, not to mention see what the people will actually buy. So we need incremental changes to start. If we had kept CAFE going from the 70\'s at an incremental pace instead of stopping it, we would already be at 40MPG and that would be the norm and the most ignorant \"6 year old in a 30-something body\" would be happy as long as his vehicle is bigger than the next guy\'s because that will give him his temporary sense of manhood and make him think he appears to be a rebel when we know he\'s just stuck at a child level of development.
Facebook User
After the biggest oil spill of the entire history of mankind, After endless US wars for oil in the Middle-East, After the Bark Beetle epidemic ravaging the forests over the entire Western part of North America due to man-made climate change, It is incredible to me that individuals such as Mr Huckfin can continue to proffer such asinine, I drive whatever I like because I work hard, statements. Not only do we need MUCH STRICTER emission standards for US cars and trucks, but people like Mr. Huckfin need to get off of their fat asses and ride a bicycle! In the next ten years, driving a Giant 5000 lb. SUV will become prohibitively expensive, and hopefully illegal. Automotive manufacturers will be required by law to build more lightweight hybrid and electric vehicles similar to the General Motors EV1 produced between 1996 and 1999 for the California market. The mandate passed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in the early 90s that made the production and sale of zero-emission vehicles a requirement for the seven major automakers selling cars in the United States to continue to market their vehicles in California, is a good example of how intelligent regulations can protect the planet and other people from individuals like Mr. Huckfin. Unfortunately, an alliance of the major US automakers litigated the CARB regulation in court, resulting in a slackening of the zero-emission vehicles mandate. The EV1 program was subsequently discontinued in 2002, and all cars on the road were repossessed by General Motors and CRUSHED! This is why General Motors and people like Mr. Huckfin are part of the problem instead of being part of the solution. Hopefully, a majority of thinking Americans will no longer tolerate this type of behavior in the future. Michael McGEE wind-energy@evc.net