August 10, 2005

Carbon emissions from US autos on the rise – report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Emissions of heat-trapping carbon
dioxide from U.S. cars and trucks soared 25 percent between
1990 and 2003 as more vehicles hit the roads and consumers
flocked to gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles, a U.S.
environmental group said on Wednesday.

Despite efforts to introduce cleaner hybrid vehicles, the
biggest U.S. automakers have failed to reverse growing
greenhouse gas emissions, Environmental Defense said.

"Emissions keep rising despite factors that many people
think should lower them," said John DeCicco of the group.

Vehicles made by General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co.
led the increase in gases linked to global warming. Carbon
dioxide emissions from GM's 2003 model year vehicles rose 6.3
percent to 6.4 million metric tons, while Ford's increased 7.7
percent to 5 million metric tons, Environmental Defense said.

In 2003, emissions from cars and light trucks topped 317
million metric tons, up 25 percent from 1990, the group said,
based on federal government data.

Part of the 13-year increase is due to more vehicles on the
road. However, Americans also bought more sport utility
vehicles and mini-vans during that period, and they get fewer
miles per gallon of gasoline.

Automakers say they are doing their part by offering
consumers new high-tech vehicles powered by cleaner hybrid,
diesel and fuel cell engines.

"The auto industry is offering a vast array of highly
fuel-efficient, low-emission vehicles to the public, and those
are available on dealer lots today," said Eron Shosteck at the
Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents Detroit
automakers and some foreign firms.

The United States is the world's largest emitter of
greenhouse gases, which are linked to rising ocean tides,
melting glaciers and wildlife extinction.

The majority of American carbon emissions are from
coal-fired utilities and plants, but cars and light trucks
accounted for about 20 percent of the total.