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Cars and environment Green cars: Genuine or a marketing tool?

Are green cars in Indonesia really “green”, or just a label to get more sales? The latter seems to be the answer according to an NGO focusing on consumer protection, although car manufacturers beg to differ.

“The ‘green’ tag, particularly in Indonesia, is nothing more than an effort to gain more buyers. Global environmental consciousness is providing manufacturers new excuses to market their products,” Indah Sukmaningsih, a member of the Indonesian Consumer Protection Foundation (YLKI), told a seminar Thursday.

Some car manufacturers have promoted their “green” cars, which they say are less harmful to the environment than comparable conventional vehicles.

Toyota for example, has recently launched its hybrid car, the Toyota Prius, which runs on two power sources, a gasoline engine and electric batteries.

Johnny Darmawan, president director of PT Toyota Astra Motor, claimed the Toyota Prius produced very little CO2 emission and used recyclable materials.

“Prius’ Power Split Device [PSD] makes constant automatic adjustments to the power ratio from electric motor and gasoline engine according to the situation,” he said.

“On a flat road, for example, it uses only the electric motor to run the car at medium speeds. At an incline, it will automatically turn on the combustion engine to produce more power. So the car is also fuel-efficient,” Johnny added.

PT Honda Prospect Motor is also planning to sell cars under the Honda Civic brand that consume less fuel and are considered environment-friendly.

Indah, however, said that it was not enough to be called “green”.

She cited the issue of fuel quality in Indonesia, which has yet to meet environment-friendly criteria.
“No matter how ‘green’ your car is, as long as the fuel still has high sulfur content, it will produce noxious, harmful emissions,” Indah said.

“Becoming ‘green’ is supposed to be a comprehensive concept that requires everyone’s involvement, not just industry. So if the stakeholder institutions still work unilaterally, everything they call ‘green’ will be misleading.”

Indah also criticized the government which, she said, seemed to prioritize maximizing income from vehicle taxes while neglecting environmental issues.

In response, Panggah Susanto, the Industry Ministry’s director for land and military transportation industries, said the environment issue was not his responsibility.

“We focus only on the industrial sectors. The automotive industry is a major employer and contributes the most to the regional budget in all regions throughout the country, so we must be sensitive when designing policy that will affect this sector.”

Cars and environment Green cars: Genuine or a marketing tool? Cars and environment Green cars: Genuine or a marketing tool? Reviewed by Redaksi on 9:23 PM Rating: 5

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