Eco Car Myth -

Eco-friendly vehicles cause more pollution than many 4 X 4’s

A recent study reveals that some of the ‘greenest’ cars will cause more pollution than many gas-guzzling off-roaders. In a list of the worst polluting cars, some so-called environmentally friendly vehicles have been highlighted as not so eco friendly.

The findings strongly suggest that if we really want to help prevent global warming we should reconsider the design of green vehicles and also reconsider other policies. Carbon dioxide emissions which currently influence the way Government taxes cars in the UK is, in the light of this report, fatally flawed.

A synopsis of the report published in the November edition of What Car? Magazine was based on U.S. research ‘Dust to Dust’ Automotive Energy Report’; a 450+ page document by CNW. The conclusion shows that although ‘green’ cars do push out less pollution when driven, the energy used in building, transporting, servicing and scrapping these vehicles means that, over their entire lift-cycle, they are likely to cause more pollution than most conventional cars.

Scientists measured emitted CO2 by a range of cars and then added the extra measurements for the vehicle’s whole-life cycle including creation and depollution energy ratings.

Best-performing vehicle was the Jeep Wrangler off-roader with a whole-life cycle energy cost of just 38p a mile. The Toyota Prius, was listed in 74th place with a whole-life cycle energy rating of £2.03 while the Honda Civic Hybrid, in 73rd place, cost £2.02 per mile and the Lexus RX400h was placed 83rd out of the 96 cars surveyed.  

The two-year investigation measured the environmental footprint of cars from their build, sell, drive and dispose of from initial concept to scrappage. Fuel efficiency is only a small part of the total energy used in a vehicle’s lifetime.  CNW executive Art Spinella explained why hybrids show up so poorly - It’s because of their manufacture, replacement and disposal cost; items such as batteries, electric motors and lighter weight materials used in construction give off high emissions when created and again during depollution. Simpler vehicles use established technologies that need less energy in manufacture, life cycle and depollution.’  Although a modern hybrid uses less fuel and produces fewer tail-pipe emissions, it costs the environment significantly more in overall energy costs than most other cars.



The Environmental spokesman for the Association of British Drivers, Ben Adams, said ‘Politicians seem keener to make politically correct gestures than to get the science right.’

Consider, Government car-user fleets have a sizeable quota of Honda Civic’s and Prius Hybrids, some of which are used by ministers, which in the light of this report this policy should now be reconsidered.

For full report visit -

As always there is a total failure in recognising other areas of pollution such as fires, spillages and any likely increase in crash injury, human pain and suffering as it falls outside the remit of the report. Moreover this slant is destined to go unrecognised, even in the fullness of time, unless post crash response, aftercare and rehabilitation becomes part of the equation.