A recent study performed by JATO Dynamics revealed something that we've already known for quite a while know: the U.S. car market is 'half' as green as its European and Japanese counterparts when it comes to CO2 emissions and fuel consumption. The analysis conceals that while American consumers haven't changed their car-buying habits, their Japanese and European counterparts are moving towards more 'eco-friendly' cars.
In Europe's 'big five' markets -France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK- the average CO2 emissions for new cars of all categories (including SUVs) stand at 3.26 tons/year since the beginning of 2008, based on 12,000 miles/year, representing a decrease of 0.11 tons/year from 2007. In Japan, the average CO2 emissions for new cars fell from 3.16 tons/year in 2007 to 3.10 tons/year during 2008. And the U.S.? The average new car in America emits 5.77 tons/year.
As for fuel consumption and even though JATO notes that direct comparisons between the markets is near enough impossible due to the differing test cycle, the study found that the average year-to-date figures for Cars, Minivans and SUVs in the U.S. market stand at 22.6mpg (10.6 lt/100km). That's compared to 40.3mpg in Europe (5.83 lt/ 100km) and 40.6mpg (5.79 lt/100km) in Japan.
These results are affected by the fact that a higher proportion of small cars and diesel engines influence the European CO2 average, whilst minicars account for a significant proportion (30%) of the Japanese market. In contrast, SUVs (excluding pick-ups and full-size vans) account for 30% of the total new car market in the U.S.
"Consumer green intentions are stronger than ever, but they are still voting traditionally with their wallets," says David Mitchell, President Americas at JATO. "Historic larger-vehicle tastes, relatively low gas prices and poor selection of fuel-efficient vehicles all contribute toward a slow green transition."
JATO says that in part - we'll say more than that, differences in consumer tastes can be explained by the stringent CO2-based taxation measures in place throughout Europe that haven't been enforced in the U.S. Another fact that one shouldn't ignore is of course the higher gas prices in Europe. Last time we filled up our car here in New England, we paid $2,10 a gallon - with the current exchange rates that's a mere 0,44 Euro cents a liter...