Report Labels Mitsubishi, Honda As Major Polluters

According to The Worst and Best Auto & Tire Companies, a new consumer research report by the New York-based Council on Economic Priorities (CEP), some cars touted for their fuel efficiency, such as Mitsubishi and Honda, are built in plants that produce the highest levels of toxic emissions. Conversely, a CEP product evaluation found that some highly polluting vehicles came from the least-polluting factories. Mitsubishi's Normal, Ill., plant, for example, generates toxic emissions twice the industry average and over four times the emissions of the cleanest plant, a Chrysler facility. Chrysler's vehicles, however, are below average in fuel efficiency. The CEP's report is part of a U.S. study that ranks eight automobile manufacturers and their 56 domestic production plants for the overall environmental quality of their manufacturing operations and the fuel efficiency of their vehicles. The report compiled the emissions and release of various toxic pollutants using EPA data for key chemicals in the manufacturing process, including metals such as lead and copper, and volatile organic compounds. In response to the study's findings, CEP and other environmental organizations are encouraging auto manufacturers to improve the fuel efficiency of their low-ranking vehicles and to focus on plant reduction of chemicals through the use of nontoxic alternatives or equipment that uses these chemicals more efficiently.

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