The Union of Concerned Scientists, which meets every few years to discuss the auto industry’s emission reduction progress, released this year’s analysis. The analysis, which was based on model year 2017 vehicles, shows that the industry has reached the lowest levels yet in both smog-forming and global warming emissions from new vehicles.
However, that progression is expected to start dwindling as Ford and Hyundai-Kia show no progress towards reducing global warming emissions and Toyota has actually moved in the opposite direction. Many of the big manufacturers, such as Ford, have complained that they should get a pass due to high demand for large trucks. However, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists and their findings, the reason for their low standings is that “In virtually all classes of vehicles they sell, their cars and trucks emit more than the rest of the industry.”
A key difference in this year’s report is the influx of electric vehicles and the inclusion of all automakers, rather than focusing solely on the largest companies. Many new technologies have been deployed as well, though some of the most cost-effective strategies remain on the shelf. These new technologies are deployed in less than one-third of all new vehicles. Much of these developments are introduced by smaller manufacturers. For this reason, these automakers play a vital role in helping the global effort to reduce emissions and meet 2025 standards.
The union also drew attention to other factors that are not considered in the findings, such as water usage at facilities, renewable power sourcing, the manufacturing and distribution of fleets, etc. The report focuses solely on emissions. For this reason, the union has decided to forego the usual rankings and will no longer award a “Greenest Automaker.”
The union states that it is important to “recognize the wide difference between emissions from the fleet of Honda, who has again asserted its leadership to provide the lowest emission fleet from full-line automakers, and Fiat Chrysler, who finds itself producing a fleet better only than McLaren, Ferrari, and Aston Martin – automakers who produce only exotic sports cars meant more for a track than a highway.”
Despite the variety of methods, technologies, and strategies deployed by automakers around the world, the general consensus is that global efforts are on par with plans to meet 2025 standards. The union maintains that it is an effort that will require more than simply “electrification.” Rather than focusing on producing a large amount of electric vehicles, companies would benefit from the deployment of innovative new technologies that help to reduce emissions and make vehicles of various types and sizes much greener than ever before.