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Sierra Club Welcomes Honda's Civic Hybrid

The Sierra Club today welcomed Honda's newest fuel-saving car, the Civic Hybrid. Like Honda's Insight, the Hybrid combines attributes of electric and gasoline motors.

The Civic also captures the energy typically lost in braking, directing it to recharge the batteries. Unlike pure electric vehicles, a hybrid does not need to be plugged in. Because the Civic runs on both gasoline and clean electricity, it achieves fuel economy of 50 mpg and emits much less global warming-producing gas and air pollution than other vehicles.

According to Daniel Becker, Director of the Sierra Club's Global Warming and Energy Program, the Civic's highly efficient gas-powered engine, refillable at any gas station, powers the vehicle and also generates electricity for the electric motor, which helps provide power, and is a welcome automotive development.

"The biggest single step we can take to save oil is to make cars, SUVs and other light trucks go farther on a gallon of gas," said Becker. "Honda's new Civic Hybrid will get 50 mpg. At a time when we must strive to save oil, this car proves we can."

Cars, SUVs and other light trucks consume eight million barrels of oil every day – 40% of the oil used in the U.S. The Sierra Club advocates raising Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for all vehicles to 40 miles per gallon over the next 10 years.

According to Becker, the average car emits about 70 tons of heat-trapping gas carbon dioxide over its lifetime -- the average SUV emits around 100 tons. Honda's Insight hybrid produces only about 27 tons of carbon dioxide over the same lifetime.

Including Toyota's Prius, there are now three hybrid vehicles sold in the U.S. Other auto companies are touting prototypes for cleaner vehicles. Ford Motor Company, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler say they are developing hybrids.

Meanwhile, automakers are producing more gas guzzling SUVs: General Motors alone is launching eight new SUVs for 2002.

"A foreign automaker is once again beating the Big Three in bringing a highly efficient vehicle to the U.S. market. We need Congress to set new CAFE standards to push Detroit to take technologies off the shelves and start putting them to work," Becker said.

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