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CAMBRIDGE, MA: The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) says Hyundai-Kia is America's greenest automaker in its 2014 environmental rankings.

All eight manufacturers, including Honda, Toyota, Nissan, VW, Ford, Chrysler and General Motors, have improved their emissions by 43 percent since 1998 with new vehicles emitting around 20 percent less global warming pollution and nearly 87 percent less smog-forming tailpipe emissions.

hyundaiThe 250 million vehicles on U.S roads - including cars and light trucks - account for more than 40 percent of the country's petroleum consumption and 20 percent of its global warming emissions. The UCS says Hyundai-Kia vehicles emit 15 percent less CO2 - and 13 percent less smog-forming pollution - than the U.S. national average.

However vehicles sold by Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler still produce significantly more pollution than the national average says UCS with Chrysler, the least improved automaker over the past decade, earning its "dirtiest tailpipe" award.

In a related move, 128 US companies and 49 investors, managing $800 billion in assets, have expressed their support for new emission standards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In a letter to Barack Obama, the group says: "Analysts are predicting that climate change could add as much as 10 percent to portfolio-wide risk in the next two decades, putting trillions of dollars of institutional investors' assets at risk. In order to manage this risk, we, as investors, are seeking long-term policies that provide businesses the certainty needed to transition to a clean energy economy."

U.S. power sector CO2 emissions have decreased 13 percent between 2008 and 2012 due in part to the industry's shift toward a combination of increased energy efficiency and lower carbon fuel sources says Ceres, an advocate for sustainability leadership that directs the Investor Network on Climate Risk, a network of more than 100 institutional investors with collective assets of US$12 trillion.

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