Wed, Dec 01, 2004 - Page 2 News List

EPA touts benefits of eco-friendly automobiles

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Environmental Protection Administration chief Chang Juu-en, left, accompanied by car dealers, yesterday inspects environmentally-friendly cars recommended by his agency.

PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES

In addition to appearance, price and performance, consumers in the 21st century should also regard low emissions, low noise and low fuel consumption as references when purchasing a car, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said yesterday.

The EPA yesterday released a list of the most environment-friendly automobiles for this year in Taiwan, and stressed that choosing cars with the "three lows" would be a meaningful action taken by citizens devoted to environmental protection.

According to the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), which helps the EPA to test cars, among 247 car models available in Taiwan, only 47 kinds meet existing US car emission standards for ultra-low-emission vehicles.

If taking noise and fuel consumption into account, only eight of those models were judged as environment-friendly.

These cars can get 13.5km per liter on the highway and create less than 74db of noise during acceleration.

Among these, three models are manufactured by local car companies in Taiwan.

The Volkswagen Passat 1.8 was ranked the most environment-friendly car available in the nation. It is followed by the Accord V6 3.0, Peugeot 607 3.0, Peugeot 206 SW 1.6, Accord EX-S 2.0, Camry 2.0 (NV1EPE), Mazda 6 2.3 and the British Mini Mini Cooper 1.6.

"We especially hope that enterprises consider purchasing environment-friendly cars to show their environmental consciousness," Chen Yeong-ren (陳永仁), director of Taipei City's Bureau of Environmental Protection, said at an award ceremony held for the most environment-friendly cars.

Toyota and Honda's energy efficient hybrid vehicles were introduced to the public at the ceremony. Experts from ITRI's Mechanical Industry Research Laboratories said that such vehicles, powered by a combination of a gas engine and electricity, generally have much higher energy efficiency and significantly lower emissions than a traditional car.

"Generally speaking, existing hybrid cars' emissions are less than half of that of traditional cars. They can have the same performance by consuming 40 percent less fuel," said James Wang (王漢英), director of the advanced vehicle and power technology division of the laboratories.

EPA Administrator Chang Juu-en (張祖恩) yesterday tested a Toyota Prius, which has been popular in Japan, the US and Europe for its fuel efficiency and quiet drive.

"Environmental regulations for hybrid vehicles will be out within months because the EPA would like to make economic incentives available for car agents to import environment-friendly cars," Chang said.

Chang stressed that car emissions contribute to global warming and its related problems, which are being tackled jointly by the majority of the world's countries through the Kyoto Protocol and other mechanisms. Taiwan should take seriously the Kyoto Protocol, which enters into force early next year, Chang said.

"Taiwan should introduce hybrid cars because its energy efficiency and low emission will help ensure sustainable development," he said.

According to Chang, the EPA will soon discuss policies on reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions with Cabinet agencies such as the Ministry of Economic Affairs, in order to form better national policies on sustainability.

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