Automotive Ecology Question 1

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“Does the brand disclose the smog forming exhaust gas emissions rates per km for at least its main car series?”

Dutch version: “Publiceert het merk de uitstoot van (smog) uitlaatgassen per km voor ten minste elke model serie?”

German version: Veröffentlicht das Unternehmen mindestens für seine Kernmodelle und Fahrzeugserien, wie hoch ihre Abgasemissionen pro Kilometer sind?


A car exhaust pipe does not only emit CO2, but also other gases and particles that have an impact on the environment, including human beings. Exhaust gases and particles have the potential to form smog and cause respiratory illnesses or lung cancer [1]. The current question addresses three exhaust substances:
Nitrogen Oxide (NOx): Contributes to ozone layer depletion and can cause respiratory illnesses;
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC): The term Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) refers to a specific group of chemicals that are carbon-based (organic) and readily enter a gaseous form (volatile). Of the thousands of chemicals that are considered VOCs, many are known or believed to be dangerous to human health. [2]
Particulate Matter (PM): a great contributor to respiratory illnesses.

The EU has a policy to gradually reduce these emissions, through the European Emission Standards. Note that these standards only define a maximum cap, so for smaller cars it is easier to meet the standards and there are less incentives to improve performances. It would be better practice if car brands focus on the total fleet. At time of writing, car brands report in terms of EU Emission Standard (like ‘Euro 4’) but mostly not in terms of emissions per km. Since some other brands include the information (e.g. in LCA’s for the main car models), this can therefore currently be considered as a best practice for reporting. ‘Main car series’ are here defined as the basic sub-branded model series (e.g. Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Golf, Toyota Prius, et cetera).

Please note that this question can be changed over time to better reflect best practices in the sector, specifically towards reporting and performances of the total fleet.

Please note that for this question we look specifically at the brand's level, so information on the conglomerate's website is only accountable when the conglomerate specifically refers to the brand.

Ranking guidelines

Rank Yes:

-When automotive brands report on the emissions of NOx, VOC and PM for at least the main car series. With regards to VOC, brands may also use the terms non-methane VOC (NMVOC), non-methane Organic Gas (NMOG), non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC) or simply hydrocarbons (HC). At this stage all chemical terms are eligible to be awarded a ‘Yes answer’.

Rank ?:

-When information on this cannot be found or is clearly incomplete.

Rank No:

-When brands explicitly state that they do not want to disclose this information.