SIERRA CLUB ENDORSES
The Sierra Club just honored the Honda Insight with the first product award in the organization's 108-year history, the "Sierra Club Award for Excellence in Environmental Engineering" Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director, presented the award at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The Insight was chosen because of its revolutionary hybrid design and fuel efficiency of more than 60 miles per gallon. According to EPA tests for model year 2000 vehicles the Insight beat its nearest competitor by nearly 20 mpg.
"I feel like the proverbial man who bit a dog," said Pope. "After all, it isn't every millennium the Sierra Club praises a car. But the Honda Insight deserves this first Award because it marks the beginning of the automotive industry utilizing 21st Century technology."
As a hybrid, the Insight combines attributes of electric and gasoline motors. The Insight's highly efficient gas-powered engine, refillable at any gas station, powers the vehicle and also generates electricity for the electric motor, which also helps provide power. The Insight also captures the energy typically lost to braking, directing it to recharge the batteries. Unlike purely electric vehicles a hybrid does not need to be plugged in. Because the Insight runs on both gasoline and clean electricity it achieves fuel economy of 61 mpg in city and 70 mpg in highway driving and therefore emits much less global warming and air pollution than other vehicles.
Through the "Award for Excellence in Environmental Engineering" the Sierra Club will inform the American people about advances in technology which make vehicles more environmentally sound. The award will be presented when a company develops and mass markets a vehicle that represents a substantial environmental improvement over vehicles of similar size. The award goes to the product, not the company.
"This is an award for a real car that real people can buy and use," said Pope. "We want people to know there are environmentally sound alternatives readily available. In this case, Honda built a great car and has committed to marketing the Insight in all 50 states."
While other auto companies are touting prototypes for cleaner vehicles, the only hybrid vehicle Americans can buy today is the Insight. Toyota's hybrid Prius will be available this summer.
Better environmental technology is critical because our nation's vehicles emit an enormous amount of pollution. American cars and trucks produce more carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution than the CO2 emissions for all but three other countries. The 120 billion gallons of gasoline American cars and light trucks consume produces over a billion tons of CO2 pollution annually.
"This car proves that the technology exists to dramatically clean up the pollution from America's cars," said Dan Becker, Director of the Sierra Club's Global Warming and Energy Program. "The biggest single step we can take to curb global warming is to make cars and light trucks go further on a gallon of gasoline. While there is no technology to remove carbon dioxide from a car's exhaust, we can decrease emissions by making them more fuel efficient. That is why we're so excited about the Insight."
Automobiles are major contributors to global warming, smog and suburban sprawl. This award recognizes the Honda Insight which can help reduce global warming and air pollution. We must also design convenient and livable neighborhoods to encourage walking, bicycling and public transit. This, along with reduced subsidies to driving, will help curb sprawl and traffic congestion.
The Sierra Club is grateful for the technical assistance of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy which consulted with us on this award.
The Sierra Club is the nation's oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization with more than 550,000 members.
Written By: Sierra Club
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