The Automotive Performance Index (API) is developed using the scientific principles of ecological economics, where social, environmental and economic considerations are all equally important in determining overall value. This transdisciplinary field examines the relationship between ecological and economic systems, realizing that sustained economic activity is fully reliant on a resilient ecological system to provide natural, social and human capital. Ensuring that economic activity does not undermine the resource capacity of our natural environment requires careful considerations to ensure costs are not externalized (otherwise not accounted for) to the environment, to the labor force and to their communities.
The Standard, from which the API derives, is based on thousands of social, environmental and economic data points to ensure the API delivers meaningful automotive performance ratings. The API equips buyers with the information they need to make responsible purchasing decisions in our 21st century globalized economy, with care for the people tasked with vehicle assembly; with care for the natural environment in which our resources derive; and with care for the consumer's own personal financial well-being.
The Automotive Performance Index (API) applies statistical methods to demonstrate each vehicle rating in relative comparison. For example, the vehicle that performs highest in environment performance in a given class obtains a rating score of 100. Each vehicle in its class is then compared relative to the top-performing vehicle with a rating score reflecting the statistical difference in performance outcomes. A score of 91 translates to a 9% environmental performance deficit as compared to the top-performing vehicle.
Due to the API’s relative vehicle rating method, vehicle class divisions were identified as a critical input - these class divisions are detailed here.
While the Automotive Performance Index is indeed an exhaustive list of vehicles to trim level detail, with each vehicle assessment reporting over 200 unique data outputs (the culmination of thousands of data inputs), ASG has taken additional measures to ease the burden of sorting through all data points and all vehicle assessments. We have developed key performance categories and sorted all vehicles in each class according to Environmental Performance, Social Performance, Economic Performance and All-Around Performance. The vehicle in each class with the best score in each unique category is named the performance award winner (i.e. Best Environmental Performance Award winner). The vehicle in each class that scores highest combined scores in Environmental Performance, Social Performance and Economic Performance is named the ASG Best All-Around Performance Award winner.
One step further, we also name the Best 5 All-Around Performance Award winners in each class to provide consumers with a concise product comparison guide.