Sept 2005

Member Alert

AAA Watch

Top Story

In The News

Washington Watch

Member Specials

Member Alert
Better World Club Members Often "Asked" to Leave Town.

We Don't Need the Details, Just New Contact Info

Updating Kicking Asphalt Info Not Enough (Unless You Care About KA More Than Your Roadside Assistance--Makes Sense to Us)

So many of BWC members appear to be on the lam, that we thought we should refresh a couple of rules about updating your personal information.

You can now update your own contact information. It's easy. First, go out and buy a computer. Now go to and make it your home page.* Next, click on the "Member Only" section. Enter your Membership Number and Your Email address. (Need an address? We have thousands that we can sell you.) Be sure that you are entering the same email address that you provided the Club when signing up.

That's it. You're in! Go ahead and update all of your personal information. Take your spouse off your membership. You're too good for him/her anyway. You've moved and you don't want the law to know? Don't worry. It's highly unlikely that we would give the authorities your email address. We would have to be in very, very big which point, well, we knew you'd understand.

*Consumer Disclosure: It is not really necessary to make Better World Club your Internet Home Page to use the "Members Only" site.

AAA Watch
What Do the Service Providers Think of AAA?

Bet You Don't Know.

A Better World Club member who blogs under the name "Twist of Fait Accomplis" at (here) describes a less than wonderful weekend. After the Better World Club service provider picks him up: "The ride back with the tow truck guy was actually the highlight of the day. We discussed the accident that held up traffic and killed my car--a woman in a Chevy Blazer rode up onto the grass, overcompensated, and flipped the vehicle over ... We discussed why AAA sucks for tow companies (companies make very little money from AAA tows) and why the Better World Club treats tow drivers much better..."

We're alerting you to this because you should know: AAA is disliked by service providers because they pay less than the other networks. Kicking Asphalt hasn't reported this earlier because we thought you might not find our word alone credible.

The fact is, service providers aren't that busy. But many have told us, in a snowstorm in New England, they pick the AAA people up last. Not first, last.

Now you know. Apparently, it was Fait..

Top Story

Better World Asks Ohio Secretary Of State To Count Its Votes

Who Nominated Halliburton?

Better World Club is one of 70 companies (that's probably all that Co-op America, the sponsor, could fit on a webpage) that have been nominated for the People's Choice Award for Green Business of the Year.

As the name of the award indicates, the winner will be chosen by a vote of the general public. All are welcome to cast their vote for their favorite nominee at:

Co-op America says that green businesses operate in ways that solve, rather than cause, both environmental and social problems. These businesses adopt principles, policies, and practices that improve the quality of life for their customers, their employees, communities, and the environment. (Yes, we know you're thinking "Better World Club".)

Funny, Co-op America doesn't mention anything about a prize. Just what does Better World Club win if we're selected? Complete Story

Vote for Better World Club for the People's Choice Award for
Green Business of the Year

Of course, your support would be appreciated. Voting ends October 24th.

In The News Throws a Couple of Apples at Better World

No, It's a Good Thing. Apples Are Like Stars in Ideal Bite's Fantasy World.

Check out They'll send you a green tip each weekday. They also write with a lot of attitude (although it's possible that it isn't attitude, it's alcohol.) We at Kicking Asphalt are in no position to be judgmental. This newsletter is produced by a staff that is in a Zen dream state, blissed out by the greatest working conditions in the world! (Can I get paid now?)

Is "Sustainable Travel" an Oxymoron?

The Bite
Air and auto travel are big contributors to climate change. However, by using "carbon offsets," you can travel in good conscience.

The Benefits
Carbon offsetting is a way to neutralize the carbon emissions you emit when you drive or fly. You can buy a certain amount of "offset units" equivalent to the carbon the activity creates, and hence become "carbon neutral."
Offsetting is performed by organizations that channel funds directly to carbon-reducing projects, such as:
- installing solar panels in African villages
- Investing in wind power on Native American reservations
- Simply planting trees.
You can keep your SUV.

Personally Speaking
First, we promise that we will never recommend "biking to work." Second, we drive small cars (when we drive at all) and feel pretty good about that. However, we do fly a lot, and each flight contributes a ton (really, an actual ton) of carbon dioxide pollution on average per person. ...

Wanna Try?
The Better World Club offers free carbon offsets on two domestic and (sic: should be "or") one international flight each year to members who book plane tickets through its in-house travel agency. (Nonmembers worldwide can purchase offsets -- $11 for a domestic flight and $22 for an international flight). ...

Washington Watch
Better World Club Agrees With Karl Rove: Hurricane Katrina Was Sierra Club's Fault

The Bush Administration has put out feelers, hoping to determine whether its failure to reenforce the New Orleans levees could be blamed on environmental groups. The Administration is also seeking evidence that environmentalists caused 9/11, the Social Security deficit, and Brad to leave Jennifer. If you have evidence of any of these--and if anyone does, we would expect it to be a Kicking Asphalt reader--email this guy who keeps bothering us:

In fact, the Sierra Club did ask for an environmental impact statement when the levees were up for renovation in 1997. They did so to assure that the dirt for the levees was not generated by destroying Louisiana wetlands. The Club was not trying to block levee reconstruction in any way shape or form. For more, click here.

As Kicking Asphalt believes in accountability, we'll do our part: We did see Sierra Club President Carl Pope hanging out with Janet Jackson prior to the 2004 Super Bowl. You be the judge.

Member Specials
Better World Club Members Get a Better Deal to Compare Cars

Too much burden is placed on the consumer to gather the information necessary to optimize marketplace decisions.

That's what "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is" (below) is all about. Better World is working to make it easier to obtain the information on the social costs of products. Such information can influence both buyer decisions and manufacturers' technology and product innovations.

To provide such information, Better World and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) have teamed up. ACEEE, publishes the Green Book®: The Environmental Guide to Cars and Trucks annually.

Better World has a deal for our members. One month (normally $9.95) and one year (normally $19.95) online subscriptions will be available to Better World members at 50% off starting October 15th. At that time, you will find the code that enables Better World Club members to obtain the discount in our Members Only section. For a sneak preview, click here now to see ACEEE's ratings of the Best of 2005 cars. You will find the link in the discount section after you have logged in.

The Green Book enables members to compare cars, vans, pickups, and SUVs by their environmental impacts on air pollution and global warming, and learn which vehicles are the "Best of 2005," including the "greenest" and the "meanest."

Additional features include:
  • how to buy the cleanest and most efficient vehicle;
  • listings for electric and other alternative fuel vehicles in addition to gas and diesel
We asked ACEEE to lend Better World members the money to buy the cars, but they demurred. They then started lecturing us that they are about providing wisdom, not possessions. For more details on the soundness of this philosophy, contact them.

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is:
A Cognitive Dissonance Reduction Program

Cognitive Dissonance is the brain's reaction to our actions not being in sync with our beliefs, ideals, philosophies, and values. It has been known to cause night-sweats, indigestion, and headaches. Unfortunately Cognitive Dissonance has become all too common in today's culture. Better World Club is currently working hard to reduce Cognitive Dissonance by giving our members the information they need to shop their values.

Toyota: Katrina Increased Hybrid Demand--
Maybe Environmentalists Caused It After All

DETROIT (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp. has seen a rise in demand for hybrid vehicles in the United States in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as consumers seek more mileage out of $3-gallon gasoline, a top official said on Thursday.

"At the end of last month, we had a 20-hour supply of the Prius (hybrid sedan)," Jim Press, head of Toyota's U.S. operations, said at the Reuters Autos Summit, held in Detroit. "We no longer count in days."

Japan's top auto maker, a pioneer in gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles, has enjoyed booming sales in the world's biggest car market thanks to the popularity of its hybrid models, now also offered in the sport utility vehicle segment through the Highlander and Lexus RX400h. Complete Story

Ford Exec: Japanese Hogging Hybrid Parts
Guess Toyota's 5 Year Hybrid Headstart Not Helpful

DETROIT (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co. could be offering more hybrid vehicles if it weren't for the shortage of specialized components, partly due to the "predatory" approach taken by some Japanese automakers, Ford Chief Operating Officer Jim Padilla said Tuesday.

"It is a supply issue, and it's supply of several technologies," Padilla said at the Reuters Summit in Detroit. "The Japanese have shown a little bit of a predatory approach."

Company Chief Executive Bill Ford Jr. has said he wants more hybrids in the fleet of the world's third-biggest automaker, after trailing Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. with the fuel-efficient technology. Complete Story

But William Ford Says He's Ready to Put His Money Where His Mouth Is!

Ford Chairman and CEO Bill Ford laid out his blueprint for the company's future – underscoring the commitment to innovation, including a global plan to produce 250,000 hybrid vehicles annually by 2010, a new corporate advertising campaign that will begin in the fall and increasing the number of Flexible Fuel Vehicles it produces to as many as 280,000 units in 2006.

"From this point forward, innovation will be the compass by which the company sets its direction," Ford told employees. "Today, I am renewing the promise of Ford Motor Company – to again be first in delivering innovative products to our customers – stylish in design, safer for families, first in technology that uses new fuels (emphasis added) and offers new services to consumers." Complete Story

Volvo Catches Up with Better World Club to go Carbon Neutral

Last week Volvo announced that they were going to initiate a major exercise in clean energy. They plan on converting their Tuve(West Sweden) factory to take advantage of carbon-neutral sources of energy, such as wind-power and biofuel. The plan is to build five new wind power plants and a biofuel plant by 2007. A Volvo spokesperson claimed that the venture is eventually expected to be profitable, too, as excess energy will be sold back into the power grid.

Emailers Act To Deny Yahoo Ad Revenue After Cooperation with Chinese Government

This month saw ‘Reporters without Borders' pointing an accusatory finger at Yahoo, following the conviction of Chinese reporter Shi Tao. Tao, a reporter for the Chinese newspaper ‘Hunan Contemporary Business Journal' was convicted of divulging state secrets and given a 10-year jail sentence.

In April of last year, the Communist party held meetings with Chinese media sources, regarding how they were allowed to cover the upcoming 15th anniversary of the massacre at Tiananmen Square. While those present were forbidden from recording the proceedings of the meeting, Tao did, and subsequently emailed them to several Internet contacts. Yahoo, following requests from the Chinese government, complied in the investigation, turning over specific technical information regarding Tao's use of the account, without which, he may not have been convicted. Yahoo is now finding some users are shunning their email service, some because of concerns for the security of their information, but most to deny Yahoo the advertising revenue.

Consumer Buy: All Charged Up

A pocketsize solar charger from really rocks-and it doesn't play music. But it will recharge your iPod in 5-7 hours (suggested retail: $119.00). Notepower Laptop Charger from let's you work on vacation. (This is one of the personnel policies of Better World Club--and we don't even provide solar chargers.)

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