November 2006


Oil Money Defeated Prop 87California Prop 87 to Impose Extraction Fee on Oil Companies Defeated

Oil Companies Spend Over $100 Million and Drive Support from 61% in July to 45% on Election Day

Would Californians Let Chevron Drill in Their Backyard for Free? Apparently Yes.

Proposition 87 -- which would have imposed an extraction fee on oil company drilling in the State of California -- was defeated at the polls 45 to 55 percent on November 7.

The Clean Energy Initiative would have raised up to $4 billion through the fee to help fund renewable energy and energy efficiency programs in the state. It was endorsed by a coalition of environmental and public health organizations, as well as leaders like President Clinton and Vice President Gore.

Opponents of the bill argued Prop 87 would result in higher gas prices and create a greater dependence on foreign oil, which would have placed an additional strain on school districts and municipality transportation budgets throughout the state. The initiative created an agency to manage the tax revenues and this was attacked as another new bureaucracy.

California is the only state without an extraction fee. Even Texas has a fee of 4.6%, with the revenues going to support schools/colleges.

Wanted: A New Waiver

No, Not ‘A Flock of Seagulls'

EPA Withholds A Waiver For California's New Emission Standards

In 2004, California adopted regulations limiting greenhouse gas emissions from light trucks and passenger vehicles. The new limits would phase in gradually and by 2016, greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles would be cut by 30%. Ten other states – Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon*, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington – all jumped on the "Trashing-The-Planet-Is-A-Bad-Idea" bandwagon and adopted California's standards as well.

It's now 2006, and California is still waiting to implement the new standards. The only thing holding up approval is the receipt of a waiver from the EPA under section 209(b) of the Clean Air Act, which California has requested. The waiver requirement aims to ensure that the proposed state standards be at least as protective as federal standards. If lawsuits from automakers are any indication (and they are), the new standards are certainly "as protective" as the EPA's.

Drive Change and send EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson an email, letting him know that you want the new emissions standards approved.

Even better, mail Stephen L. Johnson a letter (and/or a haiku):

USEPA Headquarters
Ariel Rios Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N. W.
Mail Code: 1101A
Washington, DC 20460

Attn: Stephen L. Johnson

*Better World Club endorsed the new emissions standards, starting in California and following in Oregon, Washington, and Pennsylvania.

Related Links:

- Read the letter Congress sent to Stephen L. Johnson
- Learn more about New Wave and A Flock of Seagulls

Haiku Activism!

The true spirit of Bushido calls for a balance between the art of war and just plain old art. Once you've signed a petition for the EPA, why not show your sensitive, artistic side by sending them a haiku? It's the honorable thing to do.

do not waver, sign waiver
cali needs clean air


Lee RaymondFormer Exxon Chair Lee Raymond Named to Lead U.S. Energy Study Before Better World Can Grab Him for Our Board

Given his $400 Million Golden Parachute, We Thought We Could Get Him Cheap

Bush Administration Continues Putting Industry Reps in Conflicted Positions

Gee, How About Dick Cheney for Physical Fitness? Tom DeLay for Ethics? Bill Clinton for Abstinence?

U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman has named former Exxon CEO Lee Raymond to chair a commission providing the Bush Administration with direction for America's long-term energy policy.

According to the National Petroleum Council's website, "The purpose of the NPC is solely to represent the views of the oil and natural gas industries in advising, informing, and making recommendations to the Secretary of Energy with respect to any matter relating to oil and natural gas…."

How lucky for the U.S., how thoughtful of the oil and gas industries, how convenient that the industry had put together an organization to create forward-thinking policy recommendations and assess alternative energy options. Who better to examine how the US can move away from oil and gas?

This was apparently lost on the 60,000 people who have written Secretary Bodman to tell him to give the study to a body more qualified and balanced than Lee Raymond and the NPC. But the Administration did such a good job with their first energy proposals, meeting almost solely with industry groups, what did the letter writers want? Or expect?

More 'Washington Watch' in 'Kicking Asphalt'

- Britain Issues Report Calling for Aggressive Measures Against Global Warming
- Senators to Exxon: Stop the Denial--and Stop Funding Global Warming Doubters


End of the road: 4x4s targeted by £25 congestion super-charge

by Hugh Muir
The Guardian

The mayor of London yesterday unveiled plans to charge the highest polluting vehicles £25 a day to drive in central London and the enlarged congestion charge zone to the west of the capital. In what is being seen by environmentalists as a significant advance, Ken Livingstone said the new charge would come into effect, subject to consultation, in 2009 or 2010, though he wants officials to speed up the timetable.

The measure would hit the owners of the heaviest 4x4 vehicles, with emissions above 225g of CO2 per km. Cars with the least harmful emissions, such as electric vehicles and hybrids such as the Prius owned by the mayor himself, would receive a 100% exemption. Complete Story

Additional Ways to Get Where You're Going:

"The panoptic schema, without disappearing as such or losing any of its properties, was destined to spread throughout the social body; its vocation was to become a generalized function" - Michel Foucault. Equally confusing: The state of Illinois considers a plan to increase oil extraction while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions.

Remember the McDLT sandwich from McDonalds? Excessive styrofoam packaging kept the "hot side hot and the cool side cool". According to Reuters, scientists have found that the polar ice caps have a similar relationship.

I Can't Believe It's Not Methane! The Scientific American reports that greenerds at the University of Minnesota may have found a way to replace natural gas with a healthier substitute.

Planetary Monogamy: The WWF Advocates a 'One-Planet Lifestyle'. We agree, but have you seen Venus lately? That planet is looking hot!

If you would like to contribute your opinion to Driving Change's Giving Directions please email it to us at


iGive. You Can Too!

Avoid The Crush Of Humanity At The Mall This Holiday Season.

Shop Online With iGive And Help Support The Charitable Cause Of Your Choice

The concept is simple: a shopping website that contributes a percentage of your purchases to the cause of your choice. The folks at iGive describe their mission thusly: "To enable the economic power of individuals to benefit their chosen communities."

The Better World / Tides Foundation, BWC's non-profit arm, has registered with iGive. Click here to sign up as an iGive member and help BWC fight global warming with every purchase you make.

Brad And Angelina Expecting A New Insight?

Reese Witherspoon And Ryan Phillippe Split... Who Gets Custody Of Their Hybrid?

Madonna To Adopt A Prius!

The Hitherto Unreported Stories Of Celebrities And Their Hybrids

Standing in the grocery checkout line provides the perfect opportunity to read magazine covers and catch up on the latest celebrity gossip. We've noticed, however, a shocking lack of stories about celebrities and their high-mileage vehicles. Don't freak out! Thankfully, our good friends at have compiled an unofficial and quite possibly inaccurate list of celebrity hybrid drivers.

More 'Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is' in 'Kicking Asphalt':

- BWC High-Mileage Review: There She Is, The Honda Civic...

- Alternative Fuels Rule the Airwaves? Well, YouTube Anyway: E-85 Road Trip Soundtrack Encourages America to "Kick that Filthy Habit"


















































BWC Alternative Fuel Report:


Fuel Prices Remain Stable Despite National Elections and Freak Weather Conditions

Not much has changed in the last two weeks. Nationally, Diesel and Biodiesel (B20) both increased by an average of $0.02. Gasoline and Ethanol (E85) have dropped $0.03 and $0.01, respectively.

Static pricing on a regional level also gives us little to report. B20 prices increased for the West Coast, West, and South by $0.03, $0.07, and $0.04, respectively. B20 prices in the Midwest remained the same. The Northeast was the only region to see a decrease in B20 pricing, albeit only by an average of $0.02.

E85 has been the most stable (boring) fuel of all. Prices remained the same in the West Coast, West, Midwest, and Northeast. Only in the South did ethanol sellers feel like ‘shaking things up a bit' with a $0.02 decrease in average price.

Do you have an unnatural interest in fuel prices? Are you a fan of tables filled with important-looking numbers? If so, we recommend finding a healthier hobby ( emailing weather casters, collecting air sick bags, etc.) or you can feed your fetish by checking out BWC's previous Alternative Fuel Report, Fuel Prices 'Didn't Go Changing, To Try And Please Us' as published in the October issue of 'Kicking Asphalt'.

BWC Announces New Wiki: Now You Can Provide Information on the Hottest Auto/Travel Issues and Help Your Fellow Club Members

The BWC staff doesn't have much to do each day: just see that the Kicking Asphalt, Driving Change, and TravelCool! eNewsletters go out as scheduled.

But even this is squeezing our golf, tennis, and Narcotics Anonymous meetings. So, we're opening our doors to the public in an effort to shorten our workweek, uh.... maximize the knowledge available to all. BWC is now announcing a public wiki at

"Kicking Asphalt" and "Driving Change", and "TravelCool!" the eNewsletters of Better World Club

Maybe you already receive the monthly issues of Driving Change and Kicking Asphalt, but do you know about 'TravelCool!'? It's Better World Club's newest eNewsletter, written by BWC's remarkably frugal (aka, cheapskate) staff. Who better than penny-pinchers to let you know of the best deals and most appealing vacations? And, these canny consumers are socially responsible--so they are looking for the best eco-travel alternatives. If you're not already subscribed, you can check out the latest issue, or subscribe.

DRIVING CHANGE Anagram of the Month:

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