February 2007

Choo-Choo Choose To Support Tougher Locomotive Emission Standards!

We Need Readers "All Aboard" This Action Alert

In recent years, the US EPA has been steadily ratcheting up emissions standards for diesel fuel and automobileengines. The EPA is currently working on a proposal to cut smog and soot emissions from diesel locomotive engines. Unfortunately, GeneralElectric, by far the largest locomotive producer in the country, isfighting the proposed standards.

The debate centers on the maximum acceptable level of smog-causingnitrogen oxide emissions. The EPA wants a limit of 1.3 grams per horsepower per hour's operation. GE is pushing for a limit of 1.9grams.

In addition to causing smog, nitrogen oxides (NOx) are also believed to aggravate asthmatic conditions, create acid rain, and causecancer.

Though it is the undisputed leader in the North American locomotivemarket, GE claims that complying with the EPA's proposed emissionsstandards would require 'significantly high-risk technologybreakthroughs.' GE competitor Electro-Motive Diesel Inc. doesn't seemto think that "breakthrough" technology will be needed. 'We're notmaking a big thing out of being green, but we're definitely intendingto meet all of the [EPA] rules and requirements,' said Martha Lenz, director of engine design for the company.

GE's fight with the EPA is all the more unfortunate when comparedto the company's recent efforts to "green" its image. GE launched its"ecomagination" in 2005, producing green products like wind turbines, compact fluorescent light bulbs, and fuel-efficient jet engines.

Help Drive Change and encourage GE to comply with the EPA's proposedemissions standards for diesel locomotives. You can send GE CEO JeffImmelt an email or a letter (which is more personal and carries more weight) .

The System's Rigged!

Support The CLEAN Energy Act And Help End Subsidies For Big Oil

The House of Representatives just passed a landmark environmental bill – The CLEAN Energy Act. This bill, if signed into law, would raise roughly $14 billion that to be invested in renewable energies.

The bill creates a Strategic Renewable Energy Reserve to invest in clean, renewable energy resources, promoting new emerging technologies, developing greater efficiency and improving energy conservation.

The strength of the bill lies in its fairness. It would generate all funding by addressing key inequities. First, it would cut tax subsidiesfor oil exploration. Second, and perhaps more importantly, it wouldhold oil companies responsible for billions of dollars in unpaidroyalties from Gulf of Mexico drilling leases signed in 1998 and 1999.

Predictably, Big Oil warns that taking away the petroleum industry's special privileges would hurt the US economy. But, good environmental policy creates jobs. According to the Renewable Fuels Association, the eth
anol industry supported the creation of more than 150,000 jobs in all sectors of the U.S. economy, boosting U.S. household income by $5.7billion in 2005 alone.

The CLEAN Energy Act would help end our dependence on all oil, both foreign and domestic.

However, it's not all cream cheese and daisies. The margin of support for this bill in the Senate is slim. Every vote counts, which is why it's so important that all of our members contact their Senators and urge them to support a Senate version of the CLEAN Energy Act.

*** Click here to Drive Change and let your Senator know that you support the CLEAN Energy Act.***

Related Links:

- Learn more about the CLEAN Energy Act.

- Read more about the unpaid royalties in the Seattle Times.

- BWC first reported on this story in the June 2006 edition of Driving Change. You can read the full story by clicking here.

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.

Fossil fuels dead
They cannot be renewed
Tap the sun instead

Simon G
Rochester MN

Click here to read more BWC member haikus.

Simple Things You Can Do To Fight Global Warming:

Lighting and Appliances

- Turn on (ha!) to energy efficient lighting. One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to reduce your energy use, energy costs, and greenhouse-gas emissions is to replace the regular incandescent light bulbs in your home with compact fluorescent lights(CFLs).

- Buy energy-efficient appliances. Energy-efficient air conditioners, furnaces, water heaters, and refrigerators are a great way to reduce home energy consumption. You'll save money over time and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

For information about the newest energy efficient appliances, visit the US EPA's Energy Star Program website:

- You can also improve the energy efficiency of older appliances. For example, refrigerators should not be placed next to heat sources such as ovens, dishwashers, and heaters that force them to overwork in orderto maintain cool temperatures. A refrigerator's condenser coils should be kept dust-free to ensure unblocked airflow through the unit's heat exchanger. Appliance filters should be regularly cleaned or changed.

Justice Official Bought Vacation Home With Oil Lobbyist

Who Needs National Enquirer When Driving Change (and The Washington Post) Give You the Dirt

But, These Washington Scandals Tend to Blur

What's Next? Mary Cheney Claims To Be Mother of Anna Nicole Smith's Baby

Based on Washington Post Reports

Does 'conflict of interest' have any meaning left in our nation's
capital? A senior Justice Department official bought a nearly $1million vacation home with a lobbyist for Conoco Phillips months before approving consent decrees that would give the oil company more time topay millions of dollars in fines and meet pollution-cleanup rules at some of its refineries. She has subsequently resigned.

Even better, Jack Abramoff pops up here as well.

All of this takes place against the background of Congressional lobbying reform which was passed during the first hundred hours of business orchestrated by the new House Democratic leadership. It took the New York Times less than one month to report that Congressmen had already found loopholes in the new law. The most ingenious is Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) who will have four coffee dates with you at Starbucks in exchange for a $2,500 contribution. This may be an improvement over golf junkets, but most new fund-raising schemes involved Super Bowls parties and the like. Looks like much more needs to be done.

For the original Washington Post story, click here.

More 'Washington Watch' in 'Kicking Asphalt'

- Bush Mentions Global Warming, Energy Independence in State of the Union Address

- Energy Grants Back Plug-In Cars, Ethanol
Like the dumb guy in 'Back to the Future', have you ever wanted to tell your kitchen waste to "Make like a tree and get out of here"? Well, now you don'thave to. Scientific American tells us about the 'Back To The Future'-inspired portable refinery, 'Mr. Fusion'

Norway stockpiles world's largest collection of frozen seed. [Norway also claims to be the father of Anna Nicole Smith's baby.]

The Environmental Law Institute has published a paper outlining Ten Things Wrong With Sprawl. Oddly, 'Proliferation of Outback Steakhouses' didn't make the list.

Oil and coal-burning-power-plant-loving state offers first lease on geothermal exploration along the Gulf Coast. If Texas wises up and explores geothermal, can West Virginia be far behind? (Ignore the part about the Gulf Coast.)

A horse is a horse, of course, of course, and no one can learn about climate change from a horse, of course. That is, of course, unless the horse, is a 33 million year-old fossil! Mr. Ed did seem pretty evolved, more from the Environmental News Network.

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

Would Zeus drive a Nissan Titan or a Honda Odyssey?  Probably the mini-van.  He has a lot of kids.Crash Of The Titans Anoints a Pantheon of Good and a Pantheon of Evil:

The 12 Greenest Cars and the 12 Least Green Cars of 2007 has once again amassed its list of green vehicles, and once again the Asian auto manufacturers dominated the top twelve "greenest" list. Conversely, then, it shouldn't come as a surprise to note that the twelve least-green cars were all either American or European. Sigh.

Related Links:

- See! The Pantheon of Good Cars
- Observe! The Pantheon of Bad Cars
- Witness! The Pantheon of Greek Cars , er, Gods

Brown Goes Green

UPS Drivers Avoid Left-Hand Turns To Increase Fuel Economy

Strange but true. UPS is using sophisticated mapping software to plot left-turnless (?) routes for drivers. Some routes even involve three right-hand turns to avoid a single left. Company reps say the policy will decrease the amount of time idling, waiting to make a left turn, which will, in turn, make each vehicle more fuel-efficient. On an individual truck-by-truck basis, the difference in fuel efficiency is minimal, but on a fleet level, the increase in fuel economy becomes quite significant.

Related Links:

- Check out for more details

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

- BWC High-Mileage Review: The Toyota Camry Hybrid

- Two Steps Forward. The Detroit Auto Show: Where Did the Green Go?
- Crash Test Dummies

























































BWC Alternative Fuel Report

Yet Another Reason To Hate Cold Weather

Winter Storms Halt Fuel Price Slide…

However, They Can't Halt The Electric Slide

National fuel price averages rose slightly over the last two weeks, reversing the previous month's downward trend. This is good news for a few very rich people in Texas, but not so good for the rest of us. Here's a quick summary of the change: Nationally, Biodiesel B20, Ethanol E85, Gasoline, and Diesel all jumped $0.05. Biodiesel B99 edged up $0.01.

Regionally, the West (like the cheese) stood alone. Western B20 andE85 prices stayed the same. Changes in the other regions' pricing mirrored the national rise in B20 and E85 averages.

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 (bringing knives to gun fights, eating the food you cooked for your pet iguana, etc.). Or, you can feed your fetish by checking out BWC's previous Alternative Fuel Report, JustAs A Single Red Balloon Floating Over The Paris Skyline Slowly Loses Helium, And Thus, Altitude. So Fuel Prices Continue To Slowly Drift Down...Except For B20 as published in the January issue of 'Kicking Asphalt'.

"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.

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