In a report entitled “Automakers’ Corporate Carbon Burdens:
Reframing Public Policy on Automobiles, Oil and Climate,” co-author
John DeCicco lists the carbon burden—the amount of CO2 emitted
into the atmosphere each year after a company sells a new group
of cars—of six leading automakers in the U.S. market from 1990
to 2000. The six automakers include General Motors, Ford, DaimlerChrysler,
Toyota, Honda, and Nissan. The report shows that these companies
increased their carbon burden by some degree or another.
General Motors rounded out the decade with a 13 percent increase
in carbon burden, but Toyota experienced the most dramatic change,
with a 72 percent increase. Toyota’s large increase in carbon
burden is attributed to the company’s heavy move into sports
utility vehicles such as the Toyota 4Runner and Toyota RAV4.
(SUVs are not regulated in the United States; these vehicles
use more fuel than smaller cars, consuming 8.2 million barrels
of oil per day, or 302 MMTc of annual carbon emissions).
DeCicco said the right strategy for a company is “to produce
competitive products that help them gain or maintain their market
share while cutting their carbon burden.
“Automakers need to take responsibility in designing vehicles
with lower CO2 emissions and higher fuel economy instead of
profiting at the expense of the environment by a growing market
share,” he said.