The numbers are in, the scores are tallied, and the winner is clear: Hyundai-Kia is the Greenest Automaker in our 2014 environmental rankings.
All eight of the best-selling automakers showed improvements in the rankings, which measure the pollution emissions of each automaker’s fleet. Thanks to strong federal and state emissions standards, the average new car has gotten 43 percent cleaner since 1998.
Despite this progress, the Detroit “Big Three”—Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler—still lag behind, with higher than average smog-forming and global warming pollution emissions. Continued investment in fuel-saving technologies will help these and other automakers offer consumers the cleanest, greenest vehicles possible.
The standards are working
For the first time ever, all eight major automakers reduced their average global warming emissions compared to their respective 1998 fleet average, the model year examined in our first report. The average new vehicle is emitting around 20 percent less global warming pollution and nearly 87 percent less smog-forming tailpipe emissions.
These improvements are driven by consumer demand, new technologies, and strong fuel economy and pollution standards, which require automakers to produce cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles. The phase-in of future regulations—including the Tier 3 standards—will ensure these improvements continue.
Hyundai-Kia tops Honda as the Greenest Automaker
Hyundai-Kia made a concerted effort to improve the fuel efficiency and reduce the tailpipe emissions of its fleet, and as a result emits around 15 percent less global warming pollution—and 13 percent less smog-forming pollution—than the national average.
Using the adjusted, updated information on Hyundai-Kia’s vehicles after the automaker had to revise its performance data with the U.S. EPA, our analysis shows that they still offer the best average environmental performance of the eight bestselling automakers.
Honda also made improvements since winning the Greenest Automaker in 2010, but continues to lag the industry in the midsize class, which includes their top-selling vehicle (the Honda Accord).
U.S. automakers are falling behind
Vehicles sold by Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler produce significantly more pollution than the national average, though some are improving faster than others. Ford is improving the fastest by selling more hybrids and by using turbochargers to power smaller, more efficient engines (without reducing performance).
Chrysler—the least improved automaker over the past decade—once again earns the “dirtiest tailpipe” award.
Progressive new fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards will require all automakers to continue investing in fuel-saving technologies—helping reduce smog, protect our climate, and save drivers money at the pump.