Dec 2005

Member Alert

AAA Watch

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Washington Watch

In The News

Member Alert
Question: Where are my gas rebates?

Don't Throw the Baby Out with the Bathwater

We Understand that a Check Is More Valuable Than a Baby, But You Get OurPoint

Wondering where your gas rebate check is? It could be buried in your junk mail pile among the credit card offers and pizza coupons. Our vendor puts its name "Assurant" rather than ours on the return address. (We know, we know, we're working on it.)

At the same time, the checks resemble the "fake checks" sent by credit card companies as a promotional ploy. Complete Story
AAA Watch
Pennsylvania AAA Opposes New Clean Air Standards

Oregon Joins 8 States in Adopting the "California" Rules

BWC President Serves on Oregon Task Force which Implements New, Tougher Emission Rules

Guess AAA Is Lucky that Better World Isn't Headquartered In Philadelphia

At a time when a number of states are implementing the "California" rules regulating auto greenhouse gas emissions, AAA, has launched a campaign to block adoption of these rules in Pennsylvania.

PennEnvironment is asking its members to email AAA and urge them to drop their support of the anti-clean car bills. Let them know that Pennsylvanians want stronger clean air protections, not more air pollution. Take Action or read AAA's misguided opinion piece.
Member Specials
Better World Club Is On The Map!

The Green Map That Is

Green Maps of NYC Available from Better World Club

Over the years, Green Map System has promoted sustainable living resources in NYC by producing the Green Apple Map. The forthcoming energy-themed citywide POWERFUL GREEN MAP of NYC will be available from Better World Club.

Better World is on this new map! The map's information also provides critical information to promote energy awareness. Complete Story
Member Watch

From Time to Time, Kicking Asphalt publishes statements from our members:

Assistance Sought for Environmental School

Hello Better World staff,

I work as an educator in NJ at the Education Information Resource Center and at Woodbury Public Schools, a NASA Explorer School. Several years ago, Woodbury entered into the Tour de Sol (an event co-sponsored by Better World Club) with an electric vehicle. This year we would like to obtain a diesel vehicle and make our own fuel from vegetable oil. Complete Story
Top Story

Congrats to GM's Hummer: It's Off the List

Lamborghini and Dodge Ram Remain, Bentley Joins Them

While Better World Club provides discounts to drivers of alternative fuel vehicles, we also surcharge the least fuel-efficient cars sold in the U.S. This year, according to federal government statistics:

  • The Lamborghini Marcielago is the least efficient two-seat car getting only 9 city miles per gallon

  • The Dodge Ram 1500 Pick-Up remains the least efficient pick-up truck, once again only getting 9 mpg in the city. The Ram deserves special recognition as it is only 3 miles more efficient on the highway than in urban driving, the worst performance among the inefficient cars.

  • There has been one change in the line-up. The third position has been assumed by the Bentley Amage 8 in the Least Efficient Midsize category and the Bentley Amage LWB in the Least Efficient Large with their 10 mpg records. (Yes, we know, how many Bentley drivers do we have? Sigh. Well, the facts are the facts.)
  • One of last year's premier gas guzzlers, the Hummer H2, has been replaced by a new model, the H3, which has improved gas mileage from roughly 9 to 15 miles per gallon. Our congratulations to GM for this improvement.(Hey, it's better than the Dodge Ram.)

And, congratulations as well as to all of our "winners". It is important to remember that we're not sticking our tongue out at the owners of these cars, but encouraging them to recognize the social cost of what they're driving. Any surcharge revenue is devoted to our environmental donations.

Meanwhile the Honda Insight, a gas-electric hybrid car, edged out the Toyota Prius as the most fuel-efficient vehicle in the U.S. Both get an estimated 60 miles per gallon in city driving. Complete Story


We Can Run But We Can't Hide.

Not That We'd Want To

Better World Club is moving Uptown and Downtown--kind of sideways. Our new address is

Better World Club
20 NW 5th Ave, Suite 100
Portland, OR 97209.

Will the move to a more "elite" address mean a BWC that is more formal? Elite? Hardly.We're the same dilligent, member-dedicated crew that's been volunteering since the very beginning of the Company. (Note to management: We're not volunteers. We work here!)

On the other hand, will relocating to a more Downtown address mean a BWC that is more, say, hip-hop? "Yo, do you need a tow?" Seems unlikely. (Ed. note to writer: Actual hip-hoppers may not still use the term "yo". This appears to be a middle-aged white guy's "dated" appreciation of the genre. Perhaps something '60's like "We'll get you higher by fixing your tire." is "hype" that you can "relate to" more.)
League of American Bicyclists

Better World Club has partnered with the League of American Bicyclists to offer our Bike Only members a membership with the League. Its mission is to promote bicycling for fun, fitness, and transportation and work though advocacy and education for a bicycle friendly America. And they've been doing it for 125 years! For more information regarding the League please visit

Their Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) campaign is a great program to check out. Complete Story
Village Mechanic
A New, Occasional Feature: The Village Mechanic with Eco-Auto Tips

It's the "Holiday Season", the time of year when we look forward to judging our friends and families by the quality of gifts that they give us.

It's also the time of year when we demand more from our vehicles. Take moment to think, how would my vehicle judge me?

Am I ready for the weather? Be it do-it-yourself or dealer orientated, think, maintenance. Here are the top two things to do:

Oil Change: Something as simple as an oil change can mean extra miles and lower maintenance costs.

Tires: Next time you go out to your rig take a second and look at those round black things called tires. Do they look inflated ? Or is one or more looking a little low? If you don't have a friendly neighborhood mechanic not to fret. At most tire stores they will go out of their way to look at your tires. Don't be afraid to buy yourself a tire gauge and check your own tires, the recommended tire pressure is usually in your owners handbook or located somewhere on the vehicle. If all else fails, call the dealer and ask them. They love for people to call them with questions, really.

If you have any car questions feel free to drop us a line at Kicking Asphalt. Keep your eyes on the road and drive like the people in the other cars are your neighbors, because, hey, they just may be. Or they may be strangers in much bigger cars. Either way, be careful out there.

Visit our friends at Car Talk for more Winter Driving Tips?
Washington Watch

America Becomes World Leader in Seriously Discussing Global Warming.

At Montreal Confab, Bush Administration Promises Resolve Towards the Possibility of Action

If Further Study Eventually Reveals Planet At Risk, Administration Promises to Suggest that Americans Voluntarily Reduce Emissions. Maybe...

The U.S. rejected the Kyoto Protocol in 2001. Delegates from all over the world recently met in Montreal to discuss the treaty that will replace Kyoto when it expires in 2012.

The US has been notably intransigent in relation to global warming, refusing to sit at the table in recent UN climate change talks. Paula Dobriansky, the US delegate at the summit stated, "It is our belief that progress cannot be made through these formalized discussions." The U.S. opposed additional talks under Kyoto, but isolated with Saudi Arabia, relented near the end of the session. Read a detailed description of the talks

State of Washington To Support Bio-Diesel with Loans, 2% Bio Requirement in Diesel

"Washington Watch" Can Include the State of Washington

As noted in AAA Watch, the State of Oregon has adopted California's rules regulating the greenhouse gas emissions of automobiles. This victory came at a cost for the people of Oregon. Republicans in the Assembly blocked a support package for bio-diesel by adding a veto of the California rules to it, thus killing the bio-diesel support effort.

As noted in AAA Watch, the State of Oregon has adopted California's rules regulating the greenhouse gas emissions of automobiles. This victory came at a cost for the people of Oregon. Republicans in the Assembly blocked a support package for bio-diesel by adding a veto of the California rules to it, thus killing the bio-diesel support effort. Read more of the story.
In The News
Rocky Mountain Bullhorn Calls Kicking Asphalt "Brilliant" and "Funny"

Who Is the Rocky Mountain Bullhorn?

Just a Group of Committed Journalists Who Understand the Value of a New, Crisp $20 Bill (Not that We Have That Much To Hand Out. We're Not Jack Abramoff Here.)

It's been a busy holiday season as Better World's Travel Cool! program has been promoted by Coop America to offset holiday travel's greenhouse gasses and Car Talk has been filling unpurchased time with info on BWC, to name just a couple of mentioners.

But here at Kicking Asphalt, our favorite mention was in The Rocky Mountain Bullhorn which identifies itself with the "news, views, and culture of Northern Colorado." Not every alternative paper has its own automotive columnist, but the Rocky Mountain Bullhorn does. Norvella Carpenter had some nice words for Kicking Asphalt in a recent column, calling KA "brilliant" and "funny". Of course, we think Norvella Carptenter is the smartest, most perceptive columnist in the U.S.--at least until Maureen Dowd or George Will compliment us.

Do You Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is?
"Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is" has also moved. You can now find it in Go Forward, Better World Club's monthly Action Alert.

We know how tough transitions can be. To ease your suffering Kicking Asphalt will be providing consumer information on automobiles and insurance. Here is the nation's Top 10 List of Most Stolen Automobiles

1. 1995 Honda Civic
2. 1989 Toyota Camry
3. 1991 Honda Accord
4. 1994 Dodge Caravan
5. 1994 Chevrolet Full Size C/K 1500 Pickup
6. 1997 Ford F150 Series
7. 2003 Dodge Ram Pickup
8. 1990 Acura Integra
9. 1988 Toyota Pickup
10. 1991 Nissan Sentra

The NICB reports that 1,237,114 vehicles were reported stolen in 2004. The number is dropping, down 23,357 vehicles from 2003 figures. A vehicle is stolen in the U.S every 25.5 seconds.

One of the factors that insurers consider when pricing your auto insurance is whether that car is frequently stolen. If your car is on the list of most stolen vehicles, most insurance companies will charge you a higher rate to insure it.

Camry's, Accord's, and Civic's are also among the most popular cars owned by Better World Insurance customers. (But why is the 1989 Camry the one that is attractive to thieves? Does anyone out there know? If so, use the Contact Us link at and we'll let our readers know.) Meanwhile, the Dodge Ram makes this list and our Gas Guzzler list???

There are a number of measures you can take to help safeguard your car from being stolen. There are alarms, steering wheel locks, cut-off switches, fuel disablers, and tracking devices that give police the location of a stolen vehicle. Sometimes these devices (especially tracking devices) lower your insurance costs.

There is also the Better World "Improve Your Car-ma" Bumper Sticker. Of course, we're not referring to that part of the sticker--which probably makes your car even more attractive--but to the part that says that a reward will be paid for information leading to the arrest of an individual who unlawfully takes the vehicle.

The list was assembled by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, based on the November 7, 2005 release of comprehensive 2004 vehicle data. Visit for additional information, including consumer recommendations, state-by-state breakdowns, and more.

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