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Sustainability & Vehicle Emissions: Key to Choosing Your Next Car?
Fact: cars produce vehicle emissions (carbon dioxide & pollutants). You simply won’t find a car that has zero impact on the environment. But some are more sustainable than others...
Maybe you should just take the bus? Drag out the bike rusting in the garage? Walk?
We don’t always need to use our car, but there are often all sorts of reasons that non-car transport choices don’t always work for people. It makes sense to choose the right car for our needs.
Alternatives to Petrol & Diesel
The only way to drive with minimal emissions is to drive a vehicle powered by electricity that comes from a renewable source. But purely electric cars are not readily available and still have limited range. Although they may theoretically be cheaper over longer distances, current options would be practical for very few people.
Even electric vehicles have to get their energy from somewhere. If this source is wind or hydro-generated electricity it is sustainable, but if it is from a coal fired power station then there is still a CO2 impact.
The best solution available today are vehicles which use fuel much more efficiently. Hybrid cars use around half the fuel of similar vehicles in their class, and produce significantly less air pollutants. The most widely known hybrid vehicle is the Toyota Prius, but many more models are becoming available.
Sustainable and Practical?
Car makers are working on more environmentally friendly vehicles, and that gives you options when it comes to the sustainability of the car you choose.
Green is Good For You
Let’s be selfish for a moment. Fuel costs are a big part of the cost of ownership of any car and fuel use is a key determinant of the environmental impact of your car.
Choosing a fuel efficient car benefits you because it will cost you less to run, and it benefits the environment because a car that burns less fuel produces fewer emissions. Everybody wins.
It’s Not Just Fuel and Vehicle Emissions
But there is more to sustainability than fuel efficiency and minimising emissions.
A car’s full environmental impact spreads across its lifetime. A lifetime that starts when a car’s parts are manufactured and ends when its useful life is over and it is broken back down into those parts.
That’s why a car’s reliability and the quality of its construction have an environmental dimension – the longer a car lasts the fewer cars we need to produce. And whether a car is recyclable matters too.
Taking the time to investigate the sustainability and vehicle emissions produced by your new car helps you understand the total cost of owning it. Not only that, it also helps you decide whether the vehicle is a practical solution for you and a good one for the environment...
Hybrid vehicles are becoming more readily available and can offer a practical lower emission option.
We believe in trying to make a difference
At Toyota we believe in trying to make a difference and that a better tomorrow starts today. Minimising the environmental impact of our vehicles and our business in general is an important aspect of that.
We are constantly working on the sustainability of our vehicles...
We also believe if you can dream it you can do it. A belief that was important in the development of our original hybrid vehicle, the Prius, in 1997. A belief that has powered the production of over one million hyrid vehicles. And a belief that lead us to set a goal to produce a car that makes the air cleaner as it drives and mean it.
And because we’re serious about these goals our engineers measure the full environmental impact of our cars over their lifetime, not just through fuel efficiency and emissions reduction. Reducing this impact is important to us. The Toyota Prius is leading the way in life cycle design;
- Chlorine and Bromine-free materials > in all wiring, harnesses and insulation materials which facilitate recycling
- Light-weight body parts > lead has been reduced by a third. (lead-free parts include the radiator, heater core, wire harness coverings and fuel tank) > The bonnet and roof are made from Aluminium
- PVC content > PVC resin has been reduced to 1/10 of the amount used in a conventional car (wire harness shields, door trims and car undercoat painting)
- Toyota Super Olefin Polymer > this thermoplastic has excellent recoverability and does not deteriorate even after repeated recycling (bumpers, grille, door sill and windscreen base)
- Designed for Recycling > easy-to-dismantle features are incorporated into the design (hole and pull strings for the wire harnesses, ground terminals and junction blocks)
- Reducing air resistance > an aerodynamic body shape (including wheel spats and smooth floor panels) reduce air drag to maximise fuel economy
- Recycled materials > Toyota reuses shredder dust recovered from the recycling of cars (used in dash and floor silencer materials)