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Fuel Economy And Environment In The Driver's Seat

Media Release from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA)

Monday 15 March 2004

Fuel economy and environment in the driver's seat

From today New Zealand motorists have access to an affordable car which uses the latest technology to reduce fuel consumption and vehicle emissions.

"A car with outstanding fuel economy, low emissions, that is able to foot it with the best on performance and style, and which is priced very competitively sounds like a case of having your cake and eating it too. But it's a reality with the launch of the Honda Civic hybrid in Wellington today," says Heather Staley Chief Executive of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).

"The transport sector is New Zealand's hungriest energy user, consuming around 43 percent of energy, and responsible for 46 percent of carbon dioxide emissions. The more we can improve vehicle technology and reduce the amount of energy needed to get from A to B, the better it is for motorists' pockets, the environment and our economy."

"By the end of this decade we will see a huge shift in not only the fuels we use but also in the technology that drives our vehicles. Hybrid cars are a significant move towards reducing our dependence on fossil fuels such as petrol and diesel. The Honda Civic hybrid does around 1000 kilometres on a tank of petrol (5.2 litres per 100 kilometres)," Ms Staley said.

The launch of the Honda Civic hybrid comes after the launch of Toyota's hybrid car, the Prius, in October last year. New Zealanders have taken to the fuel efficient yet powerful Prius with buyers having to wait their turn to get the vehicle.

Hybrid cars save energy at every opportunity - when conventional cars would idle, the engines of hybrids actually stop running and start up again at the touch of the pedal. The electrical motor is powered by recapturing the energy lost when decelerating and braking, and by the energy gained by always running the petrol engine at optimum efficiency. There's nothing to plug in, hybrids are just filled up at the pump as with any other car.

Ms Staley says EECA is implementing the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy through improving energy choices. For information on how to save energy at home, at work and on the road visit


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