Earth-friendliest auto (or is it?)

Hydrogen Honda gets big award … and raises a big question


What’s the greenest vehicle money can buy? According to the automotive journalists who voted for the 2009 World Green Car award, presented at the New York International Auto Show last week, it’s the Honda FCX Clarity.

The FCX Clarity came in first out of 22 nominees. The Honda car got praised as “an utterly real, hydrogen-fueled luxury sedan that provides the amenities people expect in a premium car with fuel consumption of about 72 MPG equivalent and zero tailpipe emissions.”

That’s all well and good, but at least one environmental journalist wonders if the nature of hydrogen fueling offsets benefits. In her report from the auto show, Sara Barz of the green magazine Grist writes: “At my table, after the award was announced, there was a collective response of, huh?”

She continues: “The hydrogen-fueled Clarity bested the electric Mitsubishi iMiev and the super fuel-efficient Toyota iQ. The award is not without merit … but considering the fossil-fuel intensive process required just to bring hydrogen to a car, the fuel is far from ‘green.’ ”