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Honda has been named America's "Greenest Automaker" for the fifth consecutive time by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). The award is earned by the company with the lowest combined score of its smog-forming and greenhouse gas emissions (primarily CO2) in its U.S. automobile fleet.
Honda has led the UCS rankings of overall vehicle environmental performance since the first UCS study in 2000, marking a decade of Honda leadership in reduced vehicle emissions. Honda earned the recognition this year with an industry-best score based on model year 2008 data, the latest available for analysis.
"As with the past four awards, we accept this fifth honor as both recognition of our success and a challenge for the future," said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Company Inc. "We continue to accelerate our efforts to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions that contribute to global climate change."
"Honda's decade-long claim to the Greenest Automaker title has set a high bar for the industry," said Jim Kliesch, a senior engineer with the Union of Concerned Scientists. "The companies that do best in our analysis continually strive not only to sell the greenest vehicles, but also to green their best-sellers."
Honda's efforts to improve fuel efficiency have resulted in a 1 mpg gain in the company's U.S. corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) for model year 2009, up 3.3 percent over the previous model year to 31.3 mpg, and 9.8 percent above the MY2009 industry average of 28.8 mpg, as determined by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Since MY2005, Honda's CAFE has increased 7.2 percent, outpacing the company's voluntary goal, established in May 2006, to achieve a 5 percent gain in CAFE over 2005 levels by 2010.
More recently, Honda has taken a number of important steps in advancing the fuel economy and emissions performance of its U.S. automobile fleet. This includes the introduction of the Insight as the world's most affordable hybrid car and the CR-Z as the world's first production sport hybrid coupe. Further, the all-new 2011 Odyssey minivan and redesigned 2011 Accord made significant gains in fuel economy through the use of more efficient low-friction engines and improved vehicle aerodynamics.
Honda also continues its leadership in the area of alternative-fuel vehicles. Retail sales of its natural gas-powered Civic GX Sedan were recently expanded to dealers in Oklahoma and Utah, in addition to California and New York. Honda's FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle, currently leased to a limited number of customers in Southern California, is arguably the world's most advanced zero-emissions automobile with zero tailpipe emissions and fuel efficiency three times that of a comparable, gasoline-powered automobile.
Additionally, in July 2010, the company announced plans to introduce a battery-electric commuter-sized vehicle and plug-in hybrid technology for mid-size and larger vehicles in the U.S., both beginning in 2012. These market initiatives will be preceded by U.S. demonstration programs beginning in 2010 and continuing in 2011 with Stanford University, Google Inc., and the City of Torrance, California.
Honda is also developing its own infrastructure solutions to the alternative-fuel vehicle equation. To address the opportunity for zero-emissions commuting in a fuel cell electric vehicle, in January of this year Honda began operating a next-generation solar-powered hydrogen production and refueling station on its Los Angeles R&D campus. The station uses power derived from Honda-developed and -manufactured thin-film solar cells to provide fuel for daily commuting in a carbon-free energy cycle.
About the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is the leading science-based non-profit organization working for a healthier environment and a safer world. UCS conducts an analysis of major U.S. automakers every two years. This year's report analyzes fuel economy and emissions certification standards of each company's car and light truck fleet to determine its overall contribution of smog-forming and heat trapping emissions. Honda also topped the rankings in the 2007, 2004, 2002 and 2000 UCS reports.