Energy: The motorised road traffic, mostly automobiles, is responsible for about one third of the total final energy consumption. Although there are new, more efficient cars on the market the total energy consumption by cars keeps increasing . The added consumption by the additional road traffic by far exceeds the gains in consumption thanks to higher efficiency.
Eco rating: The Eco rating system takes into consideration the harmful impacts including all emissions and noise (see selection criteria). Topten displays the 10 best cars in 7 categories. A complete list of European cars can be found on www.ecomobiliste.ch (French) or www.autoumweltliste.ch (German).
Motors and fuels
Petrol or diesel motors: a diesel motor is more efficient than a petrol motor but it emits emits far more substances harmful to human health than the petrol motor. Compared with petrol motors the diesel motors emit carcinogenic soot particles and up to six times more harmful nitrogen oxides. Therefore Topten and ATE strongly advise against using diesel automobiles without particle filter. Only models with particle filter can be listed on Topten.
Natural gas motors: The main advantage of the gas are the lower CO2-emissions compared to petrol or diesel motors. (An automobile which is driven on bio gas produced from green waste does not even emit any CO2 at all). Overall the harmful impacts on the environment of natural gas is around 50% lower than those of petrol and even 70% less than those of diesel.
Hybrid motors: Vehicles with hybrid motors are working with two engines: a combustion and an electric engine. They are fuel-efficient and emit less harmful substances. At low speeds hybrid cars are run by their electric engine; only when higher power is needed the combustion engine is switched on. When driving downhill the combustion engine is turned off and the electric engine serves as a generator, charging the batteries and at the same time decelerating the car.
Electric motors: electric cars don’t emit any waste gas nor noise when in use. Instead waste gas and CO2 are emitted where the electricity is produced. If the car’s batteries are charged with ‘green electricity’ from renewable resources such as water, wind or solar power, electric motors are more environmentally compatible than fuel or diesel motors. When the batteries are charged with the average European power mix CO2 emissions of 130g/km have to be assumed – more than modern combustion engines are emitting.
You can save fuel and money by
March 2012, Kurt Egli, Andrea Berger, Anette Michel