All 2007 Ford Focus models sold in California with the 2.0-litre Duratec 20E engine will now carry a new Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (PZEV) badge on the rear to advertise the fact.

The 2.0-liter Duratec 20E engine accounts for approximately 97% of Focus sales in the state.

"A majority of the public is under the impression that hybrids are the only answer to a cleaner environment and high gas prices," said Hal Dewsnap, general manager of Ford Lincoln Mercury California market, "yet the Focus is a smart alternative because it meets the same PZEV emissions standard as the best hybrids such as our Escape Hybrid, it delivers great fuel-economy and it is very affordable."

A vehicle must meet three stringent criteria set by the California Air Resources Board to be PZEV-certified: Its tailpipe emissions must meet the Super Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV) standard, which is over 80% cleaner with respect to smog-forming emissions than the average 2007 model year vehicle; it must produce zero petrol evaporative emissions, virtually eliminating the escape of fuel vapour from the vehicle's fuel system - a major source of smog-forming emissions; and the manufacturer must provide warranty coverage to ensure that the vehicle will meet PZEV requirements for an extended lifetime of 15 years or 150,000 miles.

"Hybrids are widely recognised by the public, but not all hybrids meet PZEV standards, and some non-hybrid PZEV vehicles such as the Focus are consequently cleaner," said Jerry Martin, director of communications for the California Air Resources Board. " PZEV -certified vehicles are the cleanest mass-produced vehicles available and represent the most attainable avenue to improve air quality because they are generally more affordable. It is encouraging to see Ford take this step in raising the level of awareness of its benefits."

The California Air Resources Board estimates there are roughly 500,000 certified PZEV's on California roads today. Ford has sold 90,000 Focus PZEVs in California since its debut in 2003.