Oct 2005

Member Alert

Member Watch

Top Story

Featured Partner

In the News

Member Specials

Washington Watch
Member Alert
Should Better World Club Surcharge Procrastinators?

We Know, We Know, It's The Last Minute and You Need Your Map/Hotel/Rental Car Right Away

We just want to remind BWC members that if you take a few steps ahead of time, you will bother the Headquarters staff much less (Oops, did we say "bother"??? We meant save you time and effort. That's it: we want to save you time and effort.)

First, order that Hotel book right away. We have very good prices on hotels and rental cars on site, but the prices in the discount booklet can be even better. Your Better World Club membership entitles you to discounts up to 50% with many hotels and rental car companies. Please use the postcard in your membership handbook to send away for your free guide to hotel and car rental discounts. We will mail you the ITC-50 card with instructions on how to make a reservation and receive the discount. And then you can save your time and effort. (We're fast learners.).

Member Watch
From Time to Time, Kicking Asphalt Will Publish the Opinions of Our Members. This Month: Joseph McKinney, President of Oregon Roads, on Clean Air Policy

What do the CEO of the largest car dealer in the nation, and the CEO of Oregon's largest leasing company have in common? They both value clean air and find it acceptable that our government take action for the benefit of us all.

I'm the CEO of Oregon Roads, Inc., Oregon's largest vehicle leasing and finance company, and a car dealer in Eugene, Oregon. I was recently polled by our dealer association, asking my opinion on our governor's efforts to adopt California's cleaner emissions standards.

I could tell by the phrasing of the question that the dealer association was trying to drum up opposition. When asked if I were prepared to fight this particular political battle, I responded with one sentence, "I prefer clean air".

Less than a week later, I was delighted to hear that Michael Jackson, the CEO of Auto Nation, a Fortune 500 company that owns and operates 352 franchises from coast to coast, was on our side. Complete Story
Top Story

Special Member Rates! (Of Course, We Consider "Special Member" To Be Redundant.)

And We Never Pander.

Better World Club has been offering auto and homeowners insurance in 4 states--with a special Member Rate in Massachusetts. We are now expanding that list by 16 states--with a special Member Rate in all of them. Better World Club also offsets the first 2,000 miles of a car's greenhouse gas emissions for Better World Club insurance customers.

We can cover any kind of auto risk in the following states. See our insurance services page for the list of states joining California, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Washington.

You can find the Insurance Application at the Insurance Section of our site--or you can click here.


Uh, Is That the Best Headline You Could Come Up With?


No, I liked the first one better.

Are you feeling good about all the things you do to make the world a better place (recycling, memberships in environmental groups not being a member of AAA, etc.)? Well, Better World Club has decided you could be doing more. (Think of us like a parent who doesn't think that A- is good enough.)

One of Better World's taglines is "Changing More than Just Tires". We strive to live up to that description by donating 1% of revenue to environmental clean-up and advocacy, discounting memberships for hybrid car owners (and surcharging gas guzzlers), to name just two of our services.

Still, Better World Club is only as good as our members. You aren't slackers when it comes to "putting your money where your mouths are" or "making yourselves heard". All of us just need the right tools to help us.

As a result, Better World Club is launching an activist section of our website: GO FORWARD. Here you will find a variety of new services, as well as some familiar ones. Our intention is to develop policy campaigns involving consumer/environmental interests and mobility.The first edition of GO FORWARD will feature several ways to get involved, including a campaign promoting the Apollo Alliance. (All campaign ideas are welcome.) You will also find the campaigns of other public interest groups at the GO FORWARD webpages.

Members are automatically enrolled in GO FORWARD. However, if you feel like you'll be receiving enough guilt from family and friends this holiday season, you can unsubscribe from the GO FORWARD eNewsletter when you receive it in November.

[Speaking of holidays, a membership with BWC makes a great gift for family, friends, or even strangers. Give us a call at 1-866-238-1137, or purchase a gift membership via our website: Better World Club]
Featured Partner
True Majority Logo
True Majority, Our Newest Fleet Member

Started by Ben Cohen, Better World Insists that Ben Not Be Covered.

He Really Should Be Biking More

Better World Club is happy to announce that True Majority is now a member of our Fleet Program! True Majority is a non-profit grassroots organization founded by Ben Cohen of Ben and Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream

True Majority works toward sustainability, peace and social justice in your local community as well as the world. If you have ever been frustrated with government or felt stifled by big money then True Majority can help. True Majority ACTION exists to increase the political participation of citizens who believe in America's true values of openness, cooperation and mutual responsibility.

Do you have every intention of writing your representative but never get around to it? Then check out what True Majority is doing. (As the article above notes, Better World has added the ability to contact your representatives regarding our GO FORWARD campaigns,.as well.)

Hundreds of thousands of Americans use True Majority ACTION's tools to speak out for change every month. By sending their members short email alerts about issues taking place in Washington that everyone should know about, True Majority members are encouraged to contact their representatives via email or fax by simply clicking "reply" and "send".
In the News
Better World Club Sees "The Business Shrink"

We're Not Neurotic. We're Just Addicted to Denial.

On October 22, radio's The Business Shrink had Better World Club on the couch. While admitting we aren't perfect, Better World Club asserted that we don't have "grandiosity" issues like that other auto club. The Shrink seemed impressed with all of our good work but he made us wonder whether we aren't just a bit insecure. Are we providing carbon offsets and discounts on memberships of alternative vehicle owners to help the planet--or because we think it makes us look good? The Shrink thought we should be coming in weekly, but we told him that we'd get back to him. We think doing good is the best therapy. And it's not because we're insecure! (You don't think that's too strong, do you?)
Member Specials
New "Progressive Film" Club Offers Discount to BWC Members?

Will It Carry "Love Bug III?" NO!

Do you love to watch movies but struggle to find what you want at the local megaplex or video store? Look no further than Ironweed, the new Progressive Film Club!

Ironweed is a new subscription film club that seeks to rally the progressive movement by championing independent movies by fearless filmmakers.

Subscribe now and get a special offer for Better World Club members and subscribers– your FIRST MONTH FREE (just pay $2.95 for shipping), and just $14.95 per month thereafter. To join, visit Ironweed Films

The idea is simple: sign up for the club and every month you'll get a DVD in the mail that contains an award-winning feature film, a short film, and free extras. Complete Story
Washington Watch


The republican form of government has many important virtues, of course (that's republican with a small "r"). But it also has its flaws. One of them is that significant regulatory activity occurs way, way below the radar screen. How many of us are familiar with the following regulatory achievements of the Bush Administration:
  • Reduced the standard for development in national parks from one of 'unimpairment' to permitting damage that isn't 'irreversible.'

  • Reduced federal lawsuits for environmental protection by 75%
Complete Story

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
Bush Administration: Energy Savings Labels Should Be Banned; They Cover Up Too Much Shiny Metal/Glass

A proposal to outlaw energy efficiency labelling is up for discussion at the World Trade Organization (WTO)'s ongoing negotiations. More than 200 similar `free trade' measures have been put forward and if successful, could deny consumers' access to `green' information on a huge range of products.

The United States along with Korea and China are claiming that eco-labelling damages their competitiveness and acts as a barrier to trade. Other basic measures countries want revoked include:
  • labels which show whether a product is recyclable, such as the triangle logo found on plastic bottles

  • labels which show whether a product, such as paper, has any recycled content

  • labelling which indicates sustainable sourcing, such as `dolphin-friendly' tuna

  • safety testing on imported foods, like compulsory testing for lethal toxins in shellfish

  • tax breaks for fuel efficient vehicle engines

  • fines for manufacturers, when testing shows their products fail to meet their energy efficiency claims

Britain's Friends of the Earth is very critical that Tony Blair hasn't done more to stop this. Friends of the Earth's Trade Campaigner, Eve Mitchell: 'At the moment, shoppers can choose energy efficient appliances, because products are labelled. They can save energy and money on running costs and do less damage to the environment. But these labels could be outlawed, if other countries successfully challenge them in WTO talks. The UK and the EU must reject any attempt to undermine hard won environmental protection legislation.

"There is a total failure by Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson to ensure that trade policies can deliver their promises on environmental protection."

  • The EU energy label rates products from A (up to A++ for refrigeration) - the most efficient/least energy used, down to G (the least efficient/most energy used). Currently, by law, the label must be shown on all refrigeration and laundry appliances, dishwashers, electric ovens and light bulb packaging.

  • The measures being challenged, including the objection to energy efficiency labelling by Korea, are known as `Non-tariff barriers' (NTBs) and fall under the Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA) negotiations at the WTO.

  • The sixth WTO Ministerial meeting will take place in Hong Kong, China from 13 to 18 December 2005.

Source: Friends of the Earth

New Wal-Mart Strategy Aimed at the Green, Progressive Union Buster

(Editor's Note: This headline is potentially unfair to Wal-Mart. The Company has not been found guilty of violating the labor laws. It should be noted that Wal-Mart has just endorsed an increase in the minimum wage. The writers just can't reject a cheap, if effective, headline.)

Wal-Mart, the biggest of the big box stores, a symbol of low prices to some and of urban sprawl and value-less culture to others announced sweeping environmentally friendly goals, such as reducing energy use in it's stores, doubling it's trucks fuel-efficiency and minimizing the use of packaging while pressuring it's legion of suppliers to do the same. Environmental groups are cautiously optimistic that if the company goes through with their plan, it could be a driving force for positive change in re-packaging products to minimize the environmental impact.

The market share and purchasing power of Wal-Mart is not to be underestimated, so this could be another water-shed moment in business/environmental policy. At the same time, Wal-Mart's CEO H. Lee Scott who makes $17.5 million a year, said that any change to the pay of Wal-Mart's non-executive workers would "eliminate our thin profit margin." Wal-Mart topped $10 billion dollars in profit in 2004.

Kicking Asphalt appreciates Wal-Mart's environmental effort. At the same time it encourages readers: if you do shop there, tip your cashiers. (Better World employees add that they wouldn't mind being tipped either.)

New GfK NOP Green Gauge Study Uncovers Fuel Price Points That Will Drive Lifestyle Changes

A study by GfK NOP finds that the price point at which consumers are ready to take action to save on gas starts at $2.50 per gallon. The 2005 GfK NOP Green Gauge Study identifies the price thresholds at which Americans say they will alter their lifestyles to save on gas, including carpooling; using public transportation; walking, biking or using other forms of transportation; reducing overall driving, using their most fuel efficient vehicle; and buying a more fuel efficient vehicle.

When fuel averages hit $2.50 per gallon, 26% of Americans surveyed say they kept their most gas guzzling vehicle in the garage as much as possible, and an additional 22% admit they tried to reduce the amount of time they spend on the road.

The following illustrates the lifestyle changes consumers will make based on the price per gallon of gas:
Criteria $2.50/gal $3.00/gal $3.50/gal $4.00/gal $5.00+/gal
Drive Your Most Fuel Efficient Vehicle 26% 35% 44% 50% 57%
Immediately Purchase a More Fuel Efficient Vehicle 17% 27% 40% 54% 71%
Reduce Overall Driving 22% 34% 47% 56% 65%
Walk/Bike More and Other Forms of Transportation 13% 24% 38% 49% 64%
Use Public Transportation 08% 16% 26% 40% 59%
Carpool 15% 25% 38% 49% 66%
Based on the Percentage of Consumers Owning at Least One Vehicle Numbers are Cumulative

Life Changes As a Result of Rising Prices

Four dollars a gallon marks the threshold at which approximately half of consumers say they will adopt new strategies to save on fuel. At that price point, roughly half of respondents state they would decrease their fuel consumption by carpooling; walking, biking or using other forms of transportation; limiting total drive time; using their most gas-efficient vehicle; or immediately purchasing a more fuel-friendly car. Prices would need to reach $5 per gallon before a majority of consumers say they would resort to public transportation.

"As fuel prices rise, consumers will turn more and more to fuel efficient vehicles as a strategy to save on both gas and money," explains Cary Silvers, vice president of GfK NOP. "The $4.00 a gallon mark will mean a boom market for hybrid vehicles. This is good news for automakers who are ahead of the curve, and already rolling out new models to meet this increase in demand."

About the 2005 GfK NOP Green Gauge Study ...

The 2005 Green Gauge Study surveyed 2,000 adults ages 18 and up using in-person, in-home interviews. All participants included in the study owned one or more vehicles.


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