Announcing Jaffa’s Green Car Awards

Thursday 24th March, 2011
If you read yesterday's introduction to emissions, you'll appreciate by now that CO2 isn't the be-all and end-all of a vehicle's contribution to air pollution. Arguably, as CO2 hasn't actually been proven to cause Global Warming (it's just a theory), those other pollutants are actually more critical and contribute to ill health all over the UK. Breathing Carbon Monoxide causes a drop in blood oxygen which can, among other things, trigger a heart attack. NOx and Particulate emissions can trigger asthma attacks and other respiratory disorders and HydroCarbon emissions  contribute to low level Ozone formation as well as often being carcinogens.

So, what if we analysed all of the Euro 5 & Euro 6 compliant vehicles on sale in the UK in 2011, nearly 3000 of them, and pulled out the cleanest ones based on all emissions, not just CO2. You'll see many "green" awards across many different websites, from the greenest 4x4 to the greenest hot hatch. All are from a carefully selected short list and usually result in the winner being a heavy polluting diesel car from a brand that the website has a particular affiliation with and happens to have a fairly low CO2 output along with being a "great car". Rarely are the results explained and never have I seen an award where every vehicle in the UK has a chance of winning.

There will be no subjectivity in the results. The winner in each class won't be the car I like the most, it might not even be a particularly nice drive, it will simply be the result of applying a mathematical formula to the emissions numbers to every car in the VCA database. The only limitation is that the car must be public information in the VCA database. There are sadly some notable exceptions from the list, I'll highlight some tomorrow, but I must only take officially produced data from the government body into account. In some cases, I've noticed variation between the official government figures and those supplied direct from manufacturers so the only fair way of extracting the results was to use all the data from one, trusted, source and exclude any vehicle that doesn't appear within.

As a final differentiator, I'll be publishig the scores for every single car in the database so, if your favourite car didn't get a direct mention, you can go and look up the score it attained later and see how it compares to the winners in each category.

Results will be announced tomorrow as Fridays are more fun but, as a teaser until then, have a think about which cars you believe will win each of these categories. Post your guesses in the comments section, if you like, and we can see how many you get right. I'll be announcing the best and the worst in each section.

There are 20 award categories which will consist of:

Compact Family Car
- Your ordinary hatchbacks like Ford Focus or VW Golf.
Premium Compact
- Your BMW 1 series, Audi A3 etc.
Supermini
- Those little cars, with little engines, built for town.
Petrol
- The cleanest car with a petrol engine.
Diesel
- If you do a lot of miles and must drive a diesel to save money, which are your cleanest and dirtiest options?
Hybrid
- The cleanest and dirtiest hybrid vehicles on sale.
Luxury
- Big, expensive cars. Your BMW 7 series, Merc S class etc.
Estate
- Cleanest and dirtiest estate car. Not including SUVs.
Convertible
- The best top down option, without choking on your own fumes.
Manual
- Cleanest and dirtiest cars with a manual gearbox.
MPV
- The school run category
4WD
- Cleanest and dirtiest Chelsea Tractor.
Crossover
- That odd new category.
Executive Car
- For the Sales Manager, not the rep, think BMW 5 Series and E Class segment.
Rep-mobile
- Think Mondeo or, if you're lucky, 3-series. For those who long to have their boss's company car options.
2+2 Sports
- Those sporty little cars that have a couple of useless seats in the back.
2 Seater Sports
- No kids and a few quid to spare? This is the category for you.
Dirtiest car with congestion car exemption
- Not many on that list, but which is it? And how much dirtier is it when compared to the best?
Dirtiest Car sold under an environmentally friendly marketing umbrella
. Think "green" "blue" or "eco" in the model name. Which is worst?
Cleanest Car
- The Uber-prize...best of all cars on sale.

I'll be back tomorrow with the results!

Results now posted here.

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