Just-released study shows new automotive leader in environmental - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Just-released study shows new automotive leader in environmentally friendly vehicles

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(05/27/14) - The gap between high performance and better fuel economy in cars is closing.

Tuesday, a group of scientists released its latest findings on the top green automakers.

For the past 16 years, this group has encouraged automakers to reduce smog-forming tailpipe pollution by comparing them against each other in a competition of sorts.

For the first time since automakers were ranked by the Union of Concerned Scientists, or UCS, there is a new leader for the title of "Greenest Automaker." Sales Manager Josh Vartanian from Kia of Grand Blanc couldn't be happier.

"Kia is doing a tremendous job with their power trains, and that's really where that begins. They've downsized the displacement of a lot of their engines and utilized turbo-chargers," he said.

Sister companies Hyundai and Kia took the title away from Honda, who had held the crown since 1998.

Aside from turbo-chargers, which can increase power while improving gas mileage, Hyndai and Kia have become more aggressive in the hybrid market.

"All these car companies are producing world-class vehicles. Kia and Hyundai are no exception to that. When you get behind the wheel of one of these cars and you actually drive it, you really start to understand the efforts that have been putting into these cars," Vartanian said.

Among the "Big Three" domestic automakers, Ford took the top spot, ranking sixth overall. How did they do it?

"Through engineering. They re-designed their power trains, their motors. They're more fuel-efficient, they have higher EPA standards and they didn't give up any performance," says Randy Wise Ford general manager Joe Greene.

Ford's flagship and best-selling F-150 truck for example can be configured with an "Eco-Boost" engine that gets great gas mileage and can tow as well as or even better than some V-8's.

"They've also developed their hybrid technology, their energy technology. Take the Ford Fusion for example. It's almost 47, maybe even above 47 miles per gallon. It's really good, very clean and a very well designed vehicle," Geene said.

There's even more good news when comparing tail-pipe emissions.

Today's average vehicle has 87 percent less smog-producing gases than one from the year 2000.
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