Dirty Little Secrets: Seems like being "green" is more a matter of where you emit than whether you emit. Mitsubishi and Honda usually get top marks for producing fuel-efficient, low-polluting cars. But the Council on Economic Priorities, a nonprofit research group in New York that rates companies on social responsibility, says the two car makers have the dirtiest auto factories in the country. Mitsubishi's U.S. plant in Normal, Ill., the council says, emits more than four times the toxic pollutants of the nation's cleanest car factory--one owned by DaimlerChrysler in Michigan. Paradoxically, the group's new consumer report says, companies like Ford and DaimlerChrysler, whose fleets are fat with gas-guzzling, emissions-spewing trucks and sport-utility vehicles, have the cleanest factories. The consumer report can be viewed on the council's World Wide Web site at http://www.cepnyc.org.
Changing Times: Wasn't long ago that attendance at an auto race--road, track or drag strip--guaranteed a goodly dose of tobacco advertising. They don't call 'em the NASCAR Winston Cup races and the Marlboro 500 just for fun. But with the government cracking down on nicotine, cigarette companies are finding sports sponsorship opportunities limited, and race car owners are turning elsewhere for financial backers. So out there running with the red-and-white Marlboro cars in the CART series for open-wheel Indy-type cars this year is the bright-green NicoDerm-Nicorette car sponsored by SmithKline Beecham Consumer Healthcare, maker of the stop-smoking products. The company also is sponsoring a car in the International Hot Rod Assn. drag race series this year. The inaugural appearance of the NicoDerm-Nicorette super-eliminator class dragster will be at the Amalie Oil Summer Nationals in Cordova, Ill., on June 18. Perhaps next we'll see the Antabuse car running in the Miller Lite 200.