Back a half-century ago, Oklahoma Senator Almer Stillwell “Mike” Monroney gave us the ubiquitous window sticker that you’ll see on the side of just about every new vehicle for sale. For your protection, of course. Thanks Mike.
But window space is going to get a little more crowded with information now that California Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board have teamed up to give you DriveClean. Now, you’re your going to get a SMOG score plus a Global Warming Score:
Smog is a haze-like form of air pollution produced by the photochemical reaction of sunlight with volatile organic compounds (including non-methane organic gases) and oxides of nitrogen that have been released into the atmosphere, especially by automobile operation.
Greenhouse gases (ghg) emitted from vehicles include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (NO2), and hydroflurocarbons (HFCs) from air conditioner refrigerant. Greenhouse gas emissions are the sum of all the ghg emissions and are identified as the CO2-equivalent value.
So, something like a giant hybrid Lexus LS 600h L, which gets a relatively good Smog Score of 8, will get a poorer Global Warming Score. On the other hand, if they ever tested an old school Honda CRX HF, it would get a very poor Smog Score and a very good Global Warming Score. So it’s educational to have two separate scores.
The all-electric “2008 Tesla Roadster” (both of them! haha!) has a rating of a perfect 10 due to its “0 lbs.” of Annual Smog Emissions. The catch is this: ‘Does not include upstream emissions.” Uh oh. It’s a little funny how some people will bend over backwards to come up with a nonsensical 135 MPG figure for an all-electric car, but other people can’t even hazard a guess as to “upstream emissions,” which exist. (Of course, you power your Tesla with solar, of course, but averaging out emissions from coal fired and nuclear panner plants and the like wouldn’t be a crazy thing to do.)
So, check it out. And don’t miss the acronym page, with plenty of fun phrases like “Partial Zero-Emissions Vehicle.” (How would that compare with something like “Partial Herpes-Free Sex Partner?”).
During a confusing time when an outfit like Lexus categorizes its hybrid products separately, (as if they’re an entirely different species of vehicle even though they are pretty similar to their gas-only stablemates), these ratings from DriveClean could have merit. So far, so good.