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Car rental firm helps clean up New Zealand's air

Media release 5 June 2008

Car rental firm helps clean up New Zealand's air

One of the country's car rental firms is putting its money where its mouth is and trialling a new device that could improve children's health by cleaning up the air they breathe.

Ace Rental Cars is leading the campaign for a healthier environment by conducting a trial of the EcoTube, made by New Zealand company Bios Fuel, on its rental cars.

This simple device cuts the harmful nitrous oxide and particulate exhaust emissions that are linked to asthma, bronchitis and heart disease. New Zealand has one of the highest rates of childhood asthma in the world.

Last year Auckland's chief medical officer blocked the opening of a new daycare centre on busy Great South Rd because the air quality was too bad for young lungs. And a report for the Ministry of Transport estimated that in Auckland alone, every year 253 people die prematurely because of pollution from vehicle exhausts.1

The EcoTube can not only decrease those dangerous emissions, in many cars it also cuts carbon emissions, which contribute to greenhouse gasses. And by increasing fuel efficiency it can also save drivers money.

While results vary from car to car, a 2006 Daihatsu Sirion showed a fall in carbon dioxide emissions of up to 15.7% after being fitted with an EcoTube, and a fall in nitrous oxide emissions of up to 35%. A 2000 Toyota Echo showed reductions in nitrous oxide of 15-69%, depending on speed and a 2004 Toyota Hiace diesel used 9% less fuel, even though van load increased 18%, after having an EcoTube fitted.

Ace Rental Cars is running an EcoTube pilot programme with six of its cars, and may install the simple, stainless steel tube on more of its fleet if independent testing shows it has significantly cleaned up emissions.

"New Zealanders are becoming increasingly concerned about their air quality, especially in cities such as Auckland and Christchurch," says Ace Rental Cars general manager Tony Lyons.

"Not only have we got one of the highest rates of asthma in the world, but increasingly people are worried about the damage caused to children by vehicle exhaust fumes when they are at daycare or school.

"The simple technology behind the EcoTube helps to cut those harmful emissions, so it was an easy decision for Ace Rental Cars to see if we could do our bit for our children's health by making our fleet as clean and green as possible."

The six vehicles chosen for the pilot programme have been tested at the WelTec research and development facility in Petone, with nitrous oxide, particulate and carbon emissions being measured.

After the cars have travelled 1000km with the EcoTube fitted, they will again be tested and the results compared. Stage 2 of the trial will involve fitting the EcoTube to 50 fleet vehicles and carrying out similar tests.

EcoTube, by Bios Fuel, is a single-piece stainless steel tube that is clamped into a vehicle's radiator hose. It uses the heat of the water to heat fuel before it reaches the engine.

The heated fuel then burns more quickly, cleanly and completely than cooler fuel, and so produces fewer harmful emissions.

Cam Feast of Bios Fuel said the beauty of EcoTube was that, unlike earlier fuel-heating devices, it had no moving or electrical parts that could break, and no battery that would damage the environment when it was disposed of.

Results from the EcoTube differed according to the vehicle's age, make and the type of fuel it used, and the speed it was travelling at said Feast.

Lyons said Ace Rental Cars would not gain financially from installing the EcoTube (customers will benefit from any fuel savings) but the company wanted to play its part in cleaning up the environment.

"All New Zealanders are concerned about ensuring our country stays clean and green. And tourists coming here want to ensure they are doing their bit to keep our country beautiful.

"Trialling EcoTubes on our vehicles to see if we can cut emissions is just one way Ace Rental Cars can do its bit to keep New Zealand clean."


© Scoop Media

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