Reducing The Carbon Footprint - By: Catherine Harvey
Thanks to their efficient dynamics programme, BMW have been declared the cleanest premium cars. Research has been conducted into Co2 emissions across the industry and data shows that this particular manufacturer have made the biggest improvements in environmentally friendly vehicles that maintain excellent performance.
Working on averages for the first half of 2008, BMW were found to be emitting an average 161.64g/km. Compare this to the 177g/km from Audi and 192g/km from Mercedes, this is a pretty good standard. BMW's improvements have shown to equal 11.34 percent whereas Lexus showed only a 2.14 percent improvement and Jaguar a pretty poor 2.04 percent.
An average output of 161.64g/km is a good average but by no means typical. The BMW 1 Series 118d emits a mere 119g/km, bringing it under the 120g/km that is required to avoid the London Congestion Charge. With 143hp this makes it the top performing car in such a low emissions category. The congestion charge was introduced to encourage people to purchase cars that were more eco-friendly. It currently stands at 8 pounds per trip but the Government have plans to increase this to 25 pounds for the extreme gas guzzlers.
Some researchers have claimed that driving a car that has low emissions can save you up to 400 pounds per year. This is surely changeable. Cheaper road tax, freedom from congestion charges and lower fuel costs all mean financial savings.
Co2 emissions are worked out by putting a car on a rolling road. Varying road conditions are simulated and the Co2 emitted is measured in grams per kilometre. This doesn't take into account car weight or drag and is therefore not entirely accurate but at the moment, it's the best thing we have.
The general thinking is that the larger the size of the engine, the higher the emission levels will be. More oxygen is needed to burn more fuel to provide the car with the extra power needed for it's bigger engine. But people still demand powerful cars with bigger engines. They like the luxury that this brings but it also comes with a high price, not just in fuel but to the environment. So, the onus is on car manufacturers to come up with the most powerful engine possible that releases the least pollution.
This is where BMW have been working hard. They are responsible for 48% of the Co2 reduction in the car industry over the last twelve months and that's some statement. If all car manufacturers could reduce their carbon footprint by 48% then the world would be a cooler place.
There has been much debate over the years as to just how much harm Co2 does to our environment. People are reluctant to believe that our cars are so heavily responsible when you look at the emissions of airlines and large factories. However, we cannot do much about them. He can be responsible for our own part and while there are cars on the market that produce lower levels of pollutants then we have a responsibility to do what we can. If, at the end of it, it hasn't helped that much then the larger industries and airlines will simply have to reconsider their part in it.
The world has opened up thanks to modern technology and there is virtually nothing that is inaccessible. To this end, people will not stop flying. To put extra tariffs on flying because of the carbon footprint doesn't stop the emissions having an effect, it just makes it more expensive for the consumer. Not many people take regular flights simply because they enjoy flying, it's more out of necessity.
The same applies to cars. We won't stop using them, we just end up paying more for the privilege. If manufacturers and consumers come together on this at least we can do our bit, thus bringing down the inevitable charges that the Government will bring on us.
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Environmental expert Catherine Harvey looks at what car manufacturers, including BMW are doing to reduce their carbon footprint.