June 2006

Member Alert

AAA Watch

Top Story


Washington Watch

In The News

Member Alert
We've Got Your Maps & Directions, But Give Us a Chance To Get Them to You

We Know That You Don't Plan Your Trips Overnight...
Oh, Sure. You Just Woke Up and Decided to Drive to Orange County... People in LA Don't Even Do That!

And Don't Forget to Send in Card in Membership Package to Receive Hotel Discount Guide

Summer time is a time for road trips and vacations. Do you need maps or directions to get to your favorite relaxation destination? Please give us two weeks to process map orders and driving directions. You can find order forms and available on our website in the Members Only page.

Still haven't made that hotel reservation? Don't forget to send away for your hotel guidebook. If you are holding on to the one we sent you three years ago it has a lot of outdated information that is not very useful. Spare yourself the frustration and request a new one.
AAA Watch
Not All of AAA Bad: Northern CA Adds Environmental Info to Website

Of course, BWC Takes Credit

We skip our AAA oversight this month to observe that we have noticed a healthy change in AAA's public relations. Northern CA AAA is adding environmental information to its site.

This comes as no surprise to Better World. In fact, it has been a hope that our presence would lead to AAA to a more balanced environmental viewpoint. Readers of this page know that this is not the case in, say, the Pennsylvania AAA which is opposing greenhouse gas regulation, or Virginia AAA which cointinues to oppose bike paths. But we want to recognize progress when we see it: so keep it up Northern California AAA. (Of course, padding one's website is hardly the extent of running a socially responsible shop, so we will keep you posted on the legislative moves of NorCA AAA--and the other 80 regional offices.)
Top Story
Boston Herald Names Better World's Massachusetts Insurance Agency as Best in Area

Readers Vote Better World Club #1

Number 2 Agency Doesn't Get Message; In Ad It Claims to Be #1

Dewey Defeats Truman?

The Boston Herald and Tab Community Newspapers publish the Readers Choice Awards each year, to identify the best restaurants, retailers, and yes, insurance agencies, in the Boston Metro Area. This year, Better World Club's American Consumer Insurance Agency was selected as the Best Insurance Agency. We don't know for sure, but consumers probably liked a number of the distinctive benefits provided by Better World and American Consumer--including the 8% discount for Better World Club members.

But apparently WT Phelan, Better World's principal competitor in Cambridge, MA (American Consumer serves all of Massachusetts and Better World also works with agencies in 19 other states), somehow didn't get the word. There, in an ad, the agency claims that it's number 1.

American Consumer will be taking out our own ad soon to correct the record. In the meantime, we remember that just because The Chicago Tribute published that Dewey defeated Truman in the 1948 Presidential election doesn't mean that Dewey became President.
Portland, OR Sierra Club to Offer "Travel Coo!l" Outings

Better World Will Offset Greenhouse Gas of Sierra Club Tours

Sierra Club's Columbia Group has recently agreed to collaborate with Better World Club to offset the Club's greenhouse gas generated when traveling by car in any of the Group's outdoor activities.

Better World Club pioneered the TravelCool! Carbon offset program to help fight global warming. Better World is credited as the first travel company in the world to offer this type of program to its customers.

What is a carbon offset? A carbon offset is an investment into a project or action with the goal of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions. Offset projects come in many varieties and may include tree planting or reforestation, building retrofits (i.e. installing more efficient heating/cooling systems) or wind power projects. The common goal is to reduce fossil fuel usage, which in turn, eliminates harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

Recently, Better World Club donations have been used to replace outdated, inefficient oil burning boilers for the Portland Oregon Public Schools. The new boilers reduce carbon dioxide gas emissions by thousands of tons each year, saving the school system dollars while protecting our air. 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.

A portion of the total donation collected ($0.25/person) will go toward funding local projects and programs that either reduce carbon emmisions (high efficiency boilers for school, wind energy, etc) or permanently retire carbon through purchase of forests.

Member Specials
"Who Killed the Electric Car?" Opens

With Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" and Other Eco-Films, KA Needs A Film Reviewer

"Makes 'An Inconvenient Truth' Seem Merely Inconvenient!"

No Member Discount, but Member Alexandra Paul did want to alert you to "Who Killed the Electric Car", a documentary which is about to go head-to-head with Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth".

(the failure of fuel economy standards to increase since the mid-1980s, for example)--and doesn't explore adequately every possible consumer worry about the electric car (i.e. the EV's range limitations of 60-100 miles)--it does include a number of startling moments: the refusal of GM to let lessee's purchase their adored vehicles, a GM spokesman asserting that that those same EVs would not be destroyed as the film cuts to crushed--and then shredded--EVs, and Chevron acquiring from GM an innovative battery company--whose products are never heard of again.

As car companies--and the Bush Administration--challenge the regulations of auto greenhouse gas emissions of California and nine other states, we see a precedent in their challenges to electric vehicles in California. The film opens in some cities this week. For more, visit the movie website.
Washington Watch
After Being Denied Arctic Refuge, House Loosens Restrictions on Offshore Drilling

From News Reports

Washington -- The House approved a bill Thursday that could dramatically boost offshore drilling across the nation by offering coastal states a huge slice of billions of dollars in federal royalties if they allow oil and gas rigs off their shores. Complete Story

Follow Up: Hybrid Tax Credit Opportunity to End

Eligilibility Lost for Prius Buyers, Maintained for Buyers of 16 MPG Suburban

No, Seriously.

EVER since the first Prius rolled off the assembly line almost a decade ago at the Takaoka plant not far from Toyota City, hybrid cars have basically been a luxury item. If you owned one, you could feel good about using less gasoline and being a trendsetter, but you couldn't expect the fuel savings to make up for the thousands of extra dollars that the hybrid cost. There was no financial reward for environmental virtue. Read the Complete Story [Registration Required]

More Washington Watch in 'Driving Change'

If A Conservative Government Believes in the Marketplace, Why Does it Give Public Property Away at No Cost--or Close To It? Read More

Just What You Were Hoping For: High Gasoline Prices Generate Lots of Congressional Response. Read More

In The News

"Going to hit the road, might travel, going to make sure AAA is card is up to date? Well, think again, there is an alternative to AAA, and it's really is more appropriate for those of us who are concerned about creating a better world. It's appropriately called the Better World Club. And I'm thrilled to have the founder Mitch Rofsky on Eco Talk to discuss what's happening with this growing business. I love that, and your newsletter called Kicking Asphalt." Listen to the Complete Story

Auto Club Offers New Spin

Roadside assistance helps more than drivers

By BARBARA SCHUETZE Issue date: Tue, Jun 13, 2006
The Tribune

"I am a firm believer that the marketplace gives consumers what they want," Mitch Rofsky says. "Consumers haven't demanded enough especially when it comes to seeing their values reflected in the marketplace." Complete Story

Looking For Roadside Assistance?

Your first step is to check to see what coverage you might already have, including what comes with your credit cards or your new car. Some manufacturers offer roadside assistance free for the length of the warranty. Some certified used cars, such as Toyota and Chrysler, do the same. Complete Story

Do You Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is?































Better World Club Fuel Price Report

The recent rise in petroleum prices and the effect that it has on the American economy has been widely documented. Though, as Better World Club's Fuel Report displays, drivers of alternative-fueled vehicles are more likely to be 'gently disciplined' rather than 'hit hard'.

Following trends set in previous Fuel Reports, biodiesel is generally the most expensive of the fuels.

We've Seen This Movie Before: Ford Matches GM In Paying for SUV Gas Needs

Includes Some Smaller Cars, But Gives SUVs Bigger Fuel Incentives.

"Drive on Us"? "Drive Over Us" Might Work.

From reports by The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. is launching one of the most aggressive incentive programs in its history, offering new car buyers no-interest financing and free fuel for six months on almost all of its Ford brand models.

In addition, Ford is also offering between $1,000 and $4,000 in cash rebates on several car and truck models, including the Focus compact car, Escape SUV and F-150 pickup.

Buyers also can take another $1,000 rebate in lieu of the gas debit card.

All told, the incentives could total more than $13,000 on a loaded Expedition SUV, according to an analysis by the car-shopping Web site Edmunds.com. Complete Story

Toyota to Explore Plug-In Hybrids

But 2nd Most Fuel Efficient Fleet Still Behind Its 1985 Pace

Based on a Los Angeles Times Report

Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday that it intended to increase research into plug-in hybrid technology, which it once derided, and to double the number of conventional hybrid models it sells globally by early next decade.

The Japanese automaker, poised to overtake General Motors Corp. as the world's largest automaker by sales volume, presented a far-reaching look at its fuel-efficiency and environmental goals. Complete Story

Ford: Hybrids Out, Bio-Fuels In;

Is This What Happens When You Purchase Toyota's Old Hybrid Technology Rather than Developing Your Own?

From a Reuters Report

In a sharp shift of strategy, Ford Motor Co. plans to focus less on hybrid technology and more on a wider range of alternatives to traditional gasoline-powered engines, Ford Chief Executive Bill Ford told employees of the automaker.

Ford backed away from a commitment made last fall to build capacity to make 250,000 hybrid vehicles by the end of the decade, calling that goal "too narrow" in a company-wide e-mail message released Thursday. Complete Story

Chrysler to start using smaller engines
Automaker hopes that four-cyclinder options will attract buyers and boost declining sales.

Based on a Bloomberg News Report

Chrysler Group plans to offer more small-engine versions of its cars and trucks as its U.S. sales decline amid rising fuel prices, the unit's chief executive officer said Friday.

The automaker plans two new models with standard four-cylinder engines by the end of 2006, CEO Tom LaSorda said in an interview at the unit's headquarters in Auburn Hills. Chrysler has four such vehicles now. It also may add four-cylinder versions of models that now use only larger engines. Complete Story

Better World Club's Gas Guzzler Surcharge Killed The Hummer H1 Read More


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