Nissan Motor Co. had the biggest jump in per-vehicle carbon dioxide emissions, up 9.2 percent
David Shepardson - Detroit News August 31, 2007
WASHINGTON -- Five of the six largest sellers of automobiles in the United States increased average vehicle emissions over a 15-year-period, largely because of the dramatic increase in SUV sales, a new study has found.
Nissan Motor Co. had the biggest jump in per-vehicle carbon dioxide emissions, up 9.2 percent. In contrast, Toyota saw its average emissions drop by 3 percent, in part because of the gasoline-electric hybrid Prius.
U.S. autos emitted 331 million tons of energy-related carbon dioxide in 2004, which accounted for about 20 percent of all U.S. carbon emissions, according to the report released by Environmental Defense. The report noted that if they were ranked as a separate nation, U.S. autos would be the world's fifth highest carbon emitter.
In response, automakers noted the efforts they've made in recent years to produce more fuel-efficient vehicles -- such as hybrids and smaller cars -- and reduce emissions. They also said they are committed to increasing fuel efficiency.
Nissan now sells an Altima hybrid, a sub-compact Versa and has "significantly increased our vehicle line-up from subcompact vehicles to a comprehensive line up of crossovers, SUVs and pickup trucks," spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan said. "Nissan has committed to a comprehensive plan to reduce CO2 emissions."
The report comes amid growing pressure on automakers to increase the efficiency of vehicles and reduce their emissions. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce committee, plans to introduce a bill this fall that would tax carbon emissions, along with one that would set up a "cap and trade" system as part of an economy-wide plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions linked to global warming.