Eco-Vehicle Choices

Traffic Jam

With passenger vehicles as one of the largest sources of transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, auto manufacturers are working to meet government regulations and bring you new technologies and vehicle attributes to choose from when it comes to the car you drive.

Hybrids are fast becoming popular on our roads. They are powered by a combination conventional gas/electric motor and available models include Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid and Ford Fusion Hybrid. The GM Volt is one example of a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, and it will be available in Canada in late 2011. Battery electric vehicles are a third option, and these will be for sale in Canada within 2 years.

There are also technologies available on many standard models that can help reduce fuel consumption, such as direct injection and continuously variable transmissions. Other eco-friendly choices you can make include choosing a vehicle with a smaller engine or a manual transmission and minimizing your use of heated seats and air conditioning.

Impact of burning fossil fuels

Energy is needed to power vehicles and thereby transport goods and people from point A to point B. Until recently, the majority of the energy used to power vehicles has come from the burning of fossil fuels in a combustion engine.

Burning fossil fuels produces carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions (known as greenhouse gases or GHG) which trap heat in our atmosphere thereby increasing the earth's temperature and contributing to climate change. Emissions pollute the air and form smog which affects the air quality and the health of living creatures and our environment. Emissions also contribute to the formation of acid rain, the effects of which are felt by fish populations, trees, plants, and soil.

Pollution Probe Primer on Automobile Fuel Efficiency and Emissions
CAA and Pollution Probe Driving Towards a Cleaner Environment A Healthier Future
NOVA Car of the Future
Natural Resources Canada - ecoEnergy for Personal Vehicles