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As new vehicles become more efficient, the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) they produce decreases. Shown below are several examples of model year (MY) 2012 cars that have decreased the amount of CO2 they produce (in grams per mile) despite the fact that they are larger (in interior volume) than they were ten years ago. Of the examples, the Kia Optima had the largest decline in CO2 emissions in the ten-year period, and the Nissan Sentra and VW Jetta had the greatest increase in interior volume while still reducing CO2 emissions.

Carbon Dioxide Emissions versus Interior Volume for Selected Model Year 2012 Cars
Graphic showing carbon dioxide emission versus interior volume of selected model year 2012 cars (Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra, Hyundai Elantra, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, VW Jetta, and VW Golf). See table below for more detailed information.

Supporting Information

Carbon Dioxide Emissions versus Interior Volume for Selected MY 2012 Cars
Year Make Model Total Interior
Volume
CO2 Emissions
Grams per mile
2002 Honda Accord 116 386
2012 Honda Accord 121 329
         
2002 Honda Civic 104 296
2012 Honda Civic 107 269
         
2002 Nissan Sentra 100 342
2012 Nissan Sentra 110 296
         
2002 Hyundai Elantra 108 355
2012 Hyundai Elantra 111 269
         
2002 Hyundai Sonata 113 404
2012 Hyundai Sonata 120 317
         
2002 Kia Optima 113 444
2012 Kia Optima 117 317
         
2002 VW Golf 106 386
2012 VW Golf 109 342
         
2002 VW Jetta Sedan 100 386
2012 VW Jetta Sedan 110 329
Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 2012 Vehicle Technologies Market Report, February 2013, accessed May 30, 2013.

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