September 2006


Let's Look This Trojan Gift Horse In The Mouth

New Oil Reserves in the Gulf of Mexico Won't Fuel Your Odyssey Forever (or your Civic)

We printed an editorial piece in last month's Driving Change that focused on Congress' "supply-side" remedies for our nation's oil addiction, most notably the opening of eight million acres off the shores of Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi and Alabama to destructive oil and gas drilling.

Since that article was published, oil was discovered 30,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. It is estimated that anywhere from 3 billion to 15 billion barrels of crude could be extracted from these fields.

The oil companies and certain politicians are hailing the discovery as a means to free ourselves from foreign oil. This type of supply-side thinking is what created this problem in the first place. The only way we can free ourselves from foreign oil is to greatly lessen our need for oil altogether.

At our current rate of consumption (20,030,000 barrels per day), the estimated 3 billion to 15 billion barrels of oil in these fields would only last us about two years. Also, this type of ultra-deepwater offshore drilling would be very expensive, making this only profitable if oil prices remain at least $40 a barrel.

Don't let lawmakers get distracted by this "windfall". The only certain, sustainable way to become energy independent is to reduce the demand for oil.

Send Congress an email and let them know that supply-side solutions aren't solutions at all.

Related Links

The Business Journal of Phoenix l Center for American Progress l New York Times

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 Congress, why not show your sensitive, artistic side by sending them a haiku? It's the honorable thing to do.

crude oil deep below,
will bring not joy, only woe.
should this haiku rhyme?

Stuck In The '80s

Help Bring The US Fleet MPG Average Into The 21st Century

Last month, Better World Club noted that American fuel economy has not appreciably improved since the 1980s ( Click Here For That Story). Well, now we're offering readers a way to do something about it.

In the Senate, two separate measures have been introduced that would improve auto fuel economy. The Feinstein-Snowe "Ten-in-Ten" bill requires a fleet average of 35 miles per gallon for cars, SUVs, and pickups by 2017. The Obama-Lugar-Biden Fuel Economy Reform Act calls for 4% increases in overall fleet fuel economy every year.

The Union of Concerned Scientists is asking concerned citizens to contact their senators and urge them to support these bills.

CLICK HERE to take action with the Union of Concerned Scientists

Best Ways To Beat The Heat This Summer: Drink Lots Of Fluids And Support The "Safe Climate Act"

Not Necessarily In That Order

Global warming is a hot topic this year, and lots of folks are talking about it. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), however, is doing more than just talking. He's taking some action. Waxman has introduced the "Safe Climate Act" (H.R. 5642), a comprehensive bill that would gradually reduce greenhouse gas emissions through 2050.

According to Rep. Waxman, the bill's targets include freezing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2010, at the 2009 levels. Beginning in 2011, it would cut emissions by roughly 2% per year, reaching 1990 emissions levels by 2020. After 2020, it would cut emissions by roughly 5% per year. By 2050, emissions would be 80% lower than in 1990. This goal is similar to goals that have been announced by United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Senate version of this bill, the "Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act", was recently introduced by Senator Jim Jeffords (I-VT). This bill includes provisions that are very similar to those of Rep. Waxman's Safe Climate Act.

Drive Change by sending Congress an email and let them know that you support both the "Safe Climate Act" and the "Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act".

Related Articles:

Grist Magazine l Austin Chronicle l Vermont Guardian


Bush Administration Plans Even Bigger EPA Cuts For 08

Everything from Libraries to Laboratories Face Chopping Block

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is preparing for a new even larger round of budget cuts for the 2008 Fiscal Year, according to an internal memo released last week by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). These new cuts are being readied even as Congress is still reviewing administration proposals to reduce EPA spending by a record $100 million in FY 2007.

The June 8, 2006 memo from the EPA Chief Financial Officer, Lyons Gray, to agency leadership, calls for pinpointing "larger savings" as part of a series of austerities spread over the next 5 years. The agency's fiscal reduction package includes:

* Closure of Laboratories and Libraries. The plan calls for closing 10% of EPA's network of laboratories and research centers in which much of the agency's basic and applied science concerning pollution monitoring, toxicological effects and other public health issues is conducted. By 2011, the laboratory network, comprised of approximately 2000 scientists, would shrink by 20%; Complete Story

More 'Washington Watch' in 'Kicking Asphalt'

- Democrats Announce Plan to Attack Global Warming
- Schwarzenegger Gives Environmentalists a Victory
- EU Warns Auto Makers on Emissions


Consumer Advocate Ralph Nader Looks Back at the 40th Anniversary of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Takes No Credit For 4 Million Saved Lives...

But We'll Give Him Some

The 40th Anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson's signing of the National Highway Traffic Safety Act is an opportunity for consumer advocate (as opposed to presidential candidate) Ralph Nader to look back at its achievements. While political success is never the result of one person's efforts, it would not be a major distortion if the preceding sentence had ended with "and his achievements" because it was Nader's publication of his book Unsafe At Any Speed--and the subsequent revelation that General Motors attempted to set him up--which propelled the creation of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Incredibly, largely due to the safety changes in automobiles, the fatality rate per hundred million vehicle miles has fallen from 5.6 to under 1.5 today. There were somewhat over 40,000 highway deaths per year when NHTSA was created. Without Nader's work, 100,000 more Americans could be dying each year on our roads. That's 4 million people who are alive today in large part--very large part--due to Nader's work in this area alone. As Nader damages his reputation through his misbegotten political forays, this part of his legacy should not be forgotten.

These 4 million lives should also be recalled any time someone says that government can't work or there are no effective government programs. (Full disclosure: Nader promotes Better World Club in his piece. BWC President Mitch Rofsky worked for Nader. A Conspiracy or a Coincidence? Rofsky says that this piece would have been included even if Nader had not mentioned Better World Club. A Conspiracy or a....nevermind, you get it.)

Complete Story

Additional Ways to Get Where You're Going:

The Christian Science Monitor writes that the U.S. Military is Asking for Green Iraq. While the Defense Department blocks wind power at home, according to The New Standard

Two Scientists Clash on a plan to use sulphur to solve global warming.
Reuters reports that author E.O. Wilson sees science and religion saving the environment.

Canada is forecasting that "gadgets" like IPods and CD Players will lead to huge energy demands, but they've been wrong before reports The Guardian.

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


A Fuel and his Money are Soon Parted

"Gas-Saving" Products Don't Always Deliver the Goods

Don't Spend your Benjamins on Gimmicks

High prices, unrest in the Middle East, and concerns about global warming are all things that make people think about their gasoline consumption.

Because we're environmentalists, we have an obligation to first mention that the best way to conserve gas is to stop driving your internal combustion vehicle and start riding your bike. The exercise would do you good (especially you, Jennifer Parrett of Wilmington, NC).

If you're stuck with your car, however, there are several things you can do to improve your vehicle's gas mileage. The Federal Trade Commission has been kind enough to put together a handy "Gas-Saving" facts page. The page warns consumers about so-called gas-saving products that may or may not actually work, and provides ideas for improving your fuel economy.

Unrelated Links

Ben Franklin's "Dead Celebrity Endorsement" of BWC

Thanks to BWC, Car Sharing Services Gaining In Popularity

We Think It's Because of the Excellent Roadside Assistance Service Most Car-Share Customers Receive

On A Completely Unrelated Note: BWC Provides Roadside Assistance For Zipcar Fleet

Share a car? With strangers? Car sharing, once practiced solely by tree-huggers and car thieves, is becoming more and more popular.

The Washington Post reports how Car-Sharing Merges Into the Mainstream

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

- Are They Taking Gingko Biloba? Automakers Seem to Be Recalling More Cars than Ever

- Foreign Cars Pass Big 3: For the 1st time, U.S. drivers buy more import brands
































The increasing costs of petroleum and the effect that it has on the American economy has been the subject of much hysteria, concern and legislation. Better World Club's Fuel Report reflects the average costs of alternative fuels versus standard fuels. In many cases, drivers of alternative-fueled vehicles are more likely to be 'gently disciplined' rather than 'hit hard' by high fuel prices.

BWC Offers A HUGE Page of Travel Links

Check it out ...If you dare!

"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 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:

Having Cringed

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