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Keep 4WD Alive! << Back

The recent news - that the button-pushers who run California are taking legal action against the auto manufacturers (for polluting their state) - is another sign that some parts of the world are exhibiting early signs of insanity. Didn’t the manufacturers build the vehicles to the standard required by the emissions regulations of California? 

The managements of today’s auto makers are not the ogres of destruction some of the anti-car minorities make them out to be. For decades they have committed huge sums of money to research and development of cleaner and more fuel efficient engines. 

When I visited Los Angeles in 1983, the smell of exhaust fumes permeated almost every nook and cranny in the city. These days, the smell is not so obvious. Of course LA still isn’t a paradise, but the improvement is dramatic when you consider that the city’s population, of almost 10 million, is greater than that of many countries. 

In the UK, vehicle manufacturers have cut energy use, waste and CO2 emissions by half in the last four years. Christopher Macgowan, CEO of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said ‘We have embraced our responsibility and delivered a clear, clean message; the motor industry is willing, capable and open about being part of the solution to the issue of sustainable motoring. Our modern, high-tech motor industry should be given credit for this dramatic progress.’ 

In the manufacture of vehicles, from 2001 to 2005, the following reductions were achieved:

  • Average energy use per vehicle cut from 6.2 to 3.2 MWh/vehicle
  • Corresponding CO2 figure per vehicle down to 0.6 tonnes, from 1.3tonnes
  • Waste to landfill per vehicle slashed 78 percent, from 66.4kg to 14.5kg
  • Water use almost halved from 6.2m3 to 3.2m3.

SMMT is striving to achieve more sensible debates about responsible car choice and use. CO2 emissions from cars account for less than 13 per cent of man-made CO2 in Britain.

According to DEFRA, the energy industry accounts for 36.9 per cent and residential sites 15.7 per cent. 

‘We have a clear responsibility to develop cleaner vehicles and technologies and we want all motorists to consider the impact of their motoring. However, attacking one type of car user is dangerous, because we think it encourages complacency among others........Engaging all customers is surely the best way to deliver the greatest CO2 reductions from road transport.’ said Macgowan.
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