How dirty are New Zealand Cars?
The answer is very dirty.
LTNZ estimates the average age of any given car on New Zealand roads is 12.8 years. We estimate that this 12.8 year old car is emitting between 2.0 - 5.0 grams of HC (Hydrocarbon, or soot) and NOx (Nitrous Oxide) per km.
This is a huge amount of pollution, and to combat this the government requires all new cars to meet an emissions standard.
New Zealand Car Emissions Standards
Since January 2004 it has been legislation that all new cars sold in New Zealand are required to meet the EURO II emission standards.
Here at Honda, we wanted to go above and beyond the accepted standards. By 2005, we had reduced emissions of both Hydrocarbon and Nitrous Oxide in new cars by 86%.
If we took 100 new vehicles that merely complied with NZ standards and drove them each 20,000km, that would release 1,000kg of soot (hydrocarbons) into the atmosphere.
If we drove 100 new Honda Insight's the same distance, there would be only 50kg of hydrocarbon produced.
We can look at another real-world example by examining a 1km stretch of road on Auckland's Fanshawe St. On average, 47,000 cars will drive this street every day. If each car averages an age of 12.8 years, they will dump one tonne of soot into the air every 12 days.
If every one of these vehicles were an Insight, it would take 960 days – or 2.6 years - to dump the same one tonne of soot.
At Honda, our new cars are either Ultra Low Emission vehicles (the Insight, Civic Hybrid and CRZ) or Low Emission Vehicles (all of our other new model cars).