Asked by Jan 15, 2008 at 03:00 PM about the 2008 Volkswagen Jetta SEL

Question type: General

4 Answers


It indicates an emissions level that means that these vehicles produce less tailpipe emissions than some hybrid vehicles. Like ULEV (ultra low emission vehicle).

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Practicly Zero Emission Vehicle

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PZEV stands for partial zero-emission vehicle.


Bob is right. Although, for the mathematicians among us, how could you ever have part of a zero? PZEV is a BS acronym that the state of California dreamed up to permit auto manufacturers to sell their cars in California in spite of them not complying with the states emissions standards. Subaru went one farther when they dreamed up a scheme when they built their zero-waste factory (true) in the US that lets them technically meet emissions standards using fuzzy math and voodoo. They plant trees for each car sold to balance out the emissions their cars produce, thus technically offsetting their cars pollution with a tree that absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen. It's like emissions trading between companies, but Subaru does it with a shovel and a sapling. "Partial Zero"? It is either zero tailpipe emissions, like a Nissan Leaf or a BMW i3 or I8, or tailpipe emissions only when the engine is running, like hybrids. If the only source of power is a gasoline- powered internal combustion engine, then it could only rightfully be called a super ultra-low-emissions vehicle (if, in fact it were true) but never actually partly-zero-because-we-plant-trees-and-our-gas- tanks-are-sealed. What a great idea Subaru's Madison Avenue guys had. A gullible, emissions- conscious consumer would actually believe that his Subaru emitted less pollution than, say the Mazda SyyActive engine (not true). Here's California's definition: "A partial zero emissions vehicle, in the United States, is an automobile that has zero evaporative emissions from its fuel system, has a 15-year (or at least 150,000-mile) warranty on its emission-control components, and meets SULEV tailpipe-emission standards." What this actually says is that the gas tank's vapors never are released into the atmosphere, that it has super ultra-low tailpipe emissions (a category that already exists), and that if the car actually lasts for 150,000 miles, the factory will repair or replace any emissions components that fail. This one is a throwaway. Maybe ten cars out of 100,000 will actually wind up back at a car dealership for emissions repairs after the basic warranty runs out. That's front-pocket money for an automobile manufacturer. In point of fact, the only difference between a SULEV vehicle and a PZEV vehicle is the BS 150k mile emissions warranty. I could actually pay out of the change dish on my dresser for every car that had 150,000 mikes on it and went to the dealer to get the emissions system repaired. Actuaries having lunch with advertising agency reps dreamed up this one. It is as Voodoo economics at its best.

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