July 2005

What's New

Travel Specials

Top Story


AAA Watch

In the News

Member Specials
What's New
Marketing VP Receives Maternity Leave

Uses "Baby" as Excuse

Erica Lewis, BWC's VP of Marketing/Sales, recently gave birth to a healthy boy who is so cute that Hollywood agents are already sniffing around. We obviously wanted to capitalize on this joyous event by launching a "Name Erica's Baby Contest". Turns out, Erica doesn't trust Better World Club members to name her child. She apparently doesn't want to name her son "Rainbow"' or "Bite Me". So no Better World Contest this month. BTW: If you had suggested the name "Riley", you would have won.

Better World Expands Fleet Program

Better World Club's fleet program has expanded into an exciting featire of our services. New fleets include the Federal Reserve Bank's Western Region as well as a new form of car-sharing--a Seattle group called ECCoS that shares high performance cars. The latter not only makes high performance driving more affordable--but also keeps these cars off the roads during commuting hours. more

Travel Specials
Planning a Road Trip This Summer? Check out these eco-lodges and "green" hotels

Aurum Lodge - Experience a difference at Alberta's unique and award-winning eco-tourism country inn and cottage. Aurum Lodge provides an ideal base for an extended stay in the Rocky Mountains, for those seeking nature and low-impact outdoor activities away from the busier tourist centers in the national parks. Tranquility & seclusion in a year round pristine wilderness setting. 10% discount for Club Members.

Green Hotels - We have been compiling information about how to find the hotels and motels on our web site. Check out the "green hotels" page for information about state-specific initiatives, international resources and green meeting planning.

Top Story
Better World's Latest TravelCool! Donations

Commits to The Sierra Club's Fuel Economy Campaign

Provides CO2 Sensors that Turn Off Energy In Empty Portland School Gym/Auditorium

Staff Wants Them For Their Kids' Bedrooms

Better World Club has announced that it is donating $7,000 to the Portland schools as part of its TravelCool! program which helps offset the greenhouse gas generated by the air/auto travel of Better World members. This year, the award-winning program will help the Portland (OR) schools test an innovative project: a control system that uses CO2 sensors to reduce energy (i.e. by turning down the heat) when a communal room such as a gym or auditorium is unoccupied.

Better World has also announced a commitment to the Sierra Club's Fuel Economy Campaign: $12,000 over the next year to support its efforts. The Bush administration and the automakers have opposed any meaningful increases in Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, despite the existence of technology that will enable passenger cars and light trucks to go farther on a gallon of gas.

The time is now for automakers to increase the fuel economy of their fleets. Better World Club and the Sierra Club are both working to extend California's law to limit global warming emissions from the transportation sector to other states. This could increase fuel economy to 40 miles-per-gallon (mpg) for cars and light trucks and reduce consumer spending at the gas pump, save more oil than America currently imports from the Persian Gulf, and cut heat-trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

The stated goal of Sierra Club's Fuel Economy Campaign is to cut CO2 pollution and curb global warming by spurring American know-how to increase the fuel economy of new cars, SUVs, and other light trucks, a goal shared by Better World Club. To achieve this goal, Sierra Club intends to:

  • Create demand for decision-makers to implement solutions to global warming;
  • Continue defending the implementation of California's global warming law and educate the public in other states and Canada on the availability of these cleaner cars;
  • Advocate for state-level administrative changes that will improve fuel economy;
  • Educate Americans about existing technology that would increase the fuel economy of all passenger vehicles without sacrificing safety, size, or comfort;
  • Continue pressuring auto manufacturers, including Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors, to increase production of hybrid vehicles to meet consumer demand;
  • Build strong and effective coalitions with allies in the labor and faith communities; and
  • Secure opportunities in print, television, and radio media to inform Americans of the benefits of better fuel economy.
If you are interested in more, contact The Sierra Club Foundation at (202) 675-6692.
Ocean Conservancy Now Featured on betterworldclub.com

The Ocean Conservancy is a critical environmental group tracking the state of the world's oceans. It also keeps track of cruise ships--not where they're going, but their environmental impact. You will soon be able to link over to this information from the Better World Club site. Better World Club's Call to Action page features the political campaigns of the nation's environmental groups and many public interest groups. You can now find Ocean Conservancy's Call to Action on this page as well.


In a budget deal being finalized in the next few days, if not hours, some Oregon legislators are trying to prohibit Oregon's Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) from adopting tougher clean car standards. Their tactic is to prohibit the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) from staffing a public rulemaking process that Governor Kulongoski has called for EQC to conduct later this year. Please act now. Send an email or call your senator (800-332-2313), Senate President Peter Courtney (503-986-1000), and Senate Majority Leader Kate Brown (503-986-1700). Urge them not to cave to the auto industry. We deserve clean car choices in Oregon.

AAA Watch
Tax Dollars Paid for AAA's Driving Law Lobby Poll

AAA used a poll partly paid for by taxpayers to lobby for its driving initiatives before the General Assembly in the last session, raising concerns among surprised Maryland lawmakers. More
In the News
Vegetarian Times, Real Simple Encourage People to "Drive Change"

Better World Club was recently touted the "environmentally friendly, socially responsible, nationwide roadside assistance and travel club". by Vegetarian Times. (We must figure out a way to provide discounts to biodiesel users.)

Pick up the latest copy of Real Simple magazine and look for us in the June edition. Real Simple

Is Bike Riding Illegal?
An appeal from TIME'S UP! facing $30,000 in legal fees in suit with New York City

is a New York City-based, all volunteer, non-profit, direct-action environmental group that promotes a more sustainable, less toxic city. Here is an appeal from two of its members:

As you may have heard, four TIME'S UP! volunteers-and TIME'S UP! itself-are being sued by the City of New York. Why are the City of New York and the New York City Parks Department suing a group of Environmentalists?
Complete story

Member Specials
GOT WOOD? 20% Discount from Bamboo4sale.com

Bamboo is a sustainable alternative to non-sustainably harvested wood products. Bamboo4sale.com offers the most durable--often elegant--bamboo fencing, furniture, gazebos, kitchen accessories, and garden accents. (Do you have a stick up your behind? If so, why not make it sustainable? This is difficult to self-diagnose, so ask a friend.) Live bamboo plants are also available. Use this coupon code, BWC20 (Gee, how did they come up with that?) and take 20% off orders of any size! Go to www.bamboo4sale.com and experience the sustainable and natural beauty of bamboo today!

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
In the last edition of Kicking Asphalt, we introduced a new section entitled "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is". This section is inspired by the perception that "conscious consumers" are now mainstream, not a Birkenstock wearing fringe, exceeding 60 million Americans. A Roper poll found that 27% of Americans would pay more for green products while a comparable number would choose the green product if it were no more expensive than the competition. A Yankelovich poll concluded that there were nearly 10 million "committed" environmentalists--and another 60 million "interested" ones. Yet we are unaware of our numbers--or our Buying Power.

Voting every two years is not enough. We need to vote with our dollars every day. But consumers need Information to make this easy. Better World will start by providing information as a regular feature of Kicking Asphalt that enables you to "put your money where your mouth is". This is just the start so watch this space.

Decide Whether CITGO Is Worth a Buycott...

Last month, we introduced this column by highlighting the effort to persuade consumers to purchase from CITGO, the Venezuelan owned oil company, rather than oil companies that depend upon Mideast Oil. We were also pointed out that the Venezuelan government of Hugo Chavez is controversial, so you should make you own judgments as to your comfort at supporting his regime.

This article was shared by more of you than any article in Kicking Asphalt's history. One of the responders was a member who has worked in the oil industry. We're printing his exchange with Better World Club President Mitch Rofsky for two reasons. First, he adds another perspective to the Citgo "buycott". Second, to be a conscious consumer requires substantial information and judgment. Better World understands this and will work to be as trustworthy a distributor of information as possible.

May 20, 2005

Give me a break. Citco?? They import 10% of their crude from the Middle East. If you want a lower user, try Mobil or BP or Conoco. The last time I worked for a petroleum refinery they had about 8 sources for crude. This is the type of nonsense you would expect from some third rate political rag. If you want to be rid of petroleum just use it all
up. And that is happening at a rapid rate. Unfortunately there is more to crude than gasoline.

... I hate AAA, but keep this up and I will be going back, or maybe I do not need towing insurance or biking insurance anyway.

Samuel Burkeen
Reston, VA

May 20, 2005

Gee Samuel-

It hurts to be called a 3rd rate political rag. But we just don't make this stuff up. So I guess we'll just have to compare sources. Here are ours:

DOE: In 2004, BP imported over 22% from the Persian Gulf. CITGO less than 4%. In March, CITGO didn't import any Middle Eastern Oil. The same can't be said for BP.... More

...But the Sierra Club Says Don't Frequent Exxon-Mobil

The Sierra Club wants you to help Exxpose Exxon. The Sierra Club has joined 11 other public interest and environmental groups to encourage its members and the public not to purchase ExxonMobil's gasoline and other products nor to invest in ExxonMobil stock nor to work for the company.

Why? For starters, there's the $12 million ExxonMobil has spent to fund "climate-skeptics" to proclaim that global warming science is "uncertain." And then there's ExxonMobil's active support of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Last but not least, ExxonMobil has refused to pay $4 billion in punitive damages to fisherman, natives, and others harmed by the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill.(while the Company generates record profits as gasoline prices soar.)

The Sierra Club also has a petition to ExxonMobil they would like you to sign here.

You Are What You Drive?

Blue-staters are a lot more likely to purchase hybrid cars: buyers of the Toyota Prius hybrid were Democrats by a 35 to 22%. Democrats in general are fonder of smaller cars (the Ford Escort and Dodge Neon both skewed blue by about 34 to 20), although energy efficiency is hardly the only reason. Besides having fewer children, Democrats tend to be younger, less affluent and more likely to live in cities where small cars are easier to park.

How do we know this? Last year, the Republican National Committee used data supplied by Scarborough Research, a New York market research firm, which surveyed 200,000 car owners about their political affiliations. Another research group, CNW, also looked at the political positions of car owners.

What cars do Republicans prefer? Republican Hummer buyers exceeded Democrats by 52 to 23. Jeep Cherokees were more Republican by 46 to 28. Complete story

Even Business Reporters Tell Detroit to Wake Up!

From the NY Times: July 24, 2005
The Green Machine That Could Be Detroit
IMAGINE that you are running a domestic automaker. Rising gasoline prices threaten your lucrative S.U.V. sales, a glut of car-making capacity promises ever more competition, and burdensome union contracts limit your ability to cut costs. Then there are the Chinese. They're beginning to put together the parts they've been making for years, and sooner rather than later, whole cars from China will arrive at scarily low prices. Complete article

Honda Fan Asks Company to "Call Off" Their Lawyers in CA Greenhouse Gas Lawsuit

Better World Club is a member of CERES, one of the nation's leading business/environmental groups. Below is a letter which Joan Bavaria, one of CERES founders, wrote to the President of American Honda regarding it's decision to join a lawsuit to block California's attempt to regulate the greenhouse gas emissions of automobiles. Sadly, Honda is arguably the most visionary of the auto companies. Better World has worked with groups like CERES to extend California's regulations to other states (See Donations story above).

February, 2005

Koichi Kondo
President and CEO
American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
1919 Torrance Blvd.
Torrance, CA 90501

Dear Mr. Kondo,

I am the CEO of the socially responsible investment firm, Trillium Asset Management Corporation. As CEO, I split my life between our Boston branch and our San Francisco branch; both states are leaders in environmental standards. But more importantly, I am a real Honda fan I own a Honda Accord, my son owns an Odyssey, and my husband and I also own a Honda CRV in California. I am looking forward to purchasing a new Honda hybrid when I am able, and I regularly promote Honda vehicles among my friends as the best designed, most durable of all the automobiles I've ever owned or known. Honda has always seemed to me to stand a bit apart from, and above, the automobile industry around environmental and social issues.

I was thus extremely disappointed to hear that you are party to the lawsuit to stop progress on an issue of critical importance to our health, our economy and our environment -- the need to cut global warming pollution. More


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