September 2006

Member Alert

AAA Watch

Top Story


Washington Watch

In The News

Member Alert
Another Alert About Addresses: This Time, Better World Club's Address

We won't tell the bank that you moved...

But if you use online banking, we might need you to tell them we moved.

And, speaking of addresses: yes, That's Mr. Better World Club to you!

Online banking is pretty convenient. It doesn't require sifting through dozens of return envelopes, there are no stamps to remember, there's no danger of a paper cut when sealing envelopes… But, everything is not rosy in the world of digital banking. Complete Story
AAA Watch
Calling All Greenerds: A 21st Century Quandry

AAA Hires A PR Firm To Edit Its Wikipedia Entry

Wait a Minute, What the Heck's a "Greenerd"?

Most of you are familiar with Wikipedia, the Internet's "open-source" encyclopedia. Wikepedia has a policy regarding creating or editing an article about yourself: "It is strongly discouraged". Wikipedia adds that "It is difficult to write neutrally about yourself. Therefore it is considered proper on Wikipedia to let others do the writing." Complete Story
See also:
Member Specials

Green Hawaii

Better World Club Members Receive a 5% Discount When Renting Bio-Beetles In Maui

Bio-Beetle is the first company in the world to offer rental cars fueled exclusively with biodiesel. They currently offer biodiesel rentals on the Hawaiian island of Maui and Los Angeles California. Their rental cars are unmodified Volkswagen New Beetles, Golf's, Jettas and a Passat. Complete Story

Related Links

The Bio-Beetle discount was also featured in the August edition of 'TravelCool', BWC's monthly travel enewsletter.

Click here to sign up for TravelCool!
Top Story
BWC To Publish Consumer Reviews of Highest- Mileage Vehicles

Lazy 'Kicking Asphalt' Writers Can't Be Bothered To Do Their Own Research, Try To Pass Buck On To Members

Conscientious 'Kicking Asphalt' Writers To Solicit Comments From Members

Each autumn, the auto makers announce their new products. What makes this autumn different? Better World Club is launching a new service for its members: Consumer reviews of high-mileage vehicles.

Every month BWC will publish a new review of a high-mileage vehicle. The reviews will include information about fuel efficiency, recall statistics, pricing, and more. We'd also like our members to reply with their own comments and opinions.

Specifically, we'd like to hear from BWC members who have experience with high-mileage vehicles (owning them, selling them, stealing them, whatever). We'd like you to share anecdotes, opinions, rumors, and statistics. Member comments will be compiled and posted on our website. Each month we'll feature a new high-mileage model, and yes, we will also publish reviews of high-mileage fuels (biodiesel, ethanol, etc.).

We've started the ball rolling with our review of the Prius in the "Do You Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is?" ( below)section of this newsletter. Take a look, and send us your comments if you have anything to say about the Prius – good, bad, and/or ugly.

Co-Op Power is a consumer-owned cooperative building sustainable energy resources in New England and New York. Energy cooperatives are well established in rural areas (usually called rural electric cooperatives). If you are in the New England/upstate New York area, check out the cooperative and help support a local energy organizations planning to build biodiesel plants, wind turbines, and large solar arrays to provide affordable clean energy for generations to come.

To join there is a $25 annual fee plus a one-time, refundable membership share price for $975, payable over two years. There are discounted shares for farmers and low income families. Member volunteers have developed so many great discounts and rebates that membership can pay for itself. The solar hot water kits alone can save you $300 to $600. See or call toll free 877-266-7543 for more information! Join Co-op Power and help change the way we power our world.

Washington Watch
Nature Says Bush Administration Blocks Report Linking Hurricanes to Global Warming

Administration Claims Only Part of Report Leaked

Full Report Says that Global Warming Will Be Discouraged If Al Gore Doesn't Win

The Bush administration has blocked release of a report that suggests global warming is contributing to the frequency and strength of hurricanes, the journal Nature reported Tuesday.

The possibility that warming conditions may cause storms to become stronger has generated debate among climate and weather experts, particularly in the wake of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

In the new case, Nature said weather experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, part of the Commerce Department... Complete Story

While Administration Disses Gore, Congress Is Channeling Him

Congress, it appears, is channeling Al Gore. After years of debating whether global warming was real or a hoax, the House and Senate staged six hearings this week on how the government should respond to climate change.

And the Bush administration, which has downplayed the threat of global warming during its six years in office, released a 244-page strategic report this week laying out plans to address the rapid warming of the planet. Complete Story

More Washington Watch in Driving Change:

- Bush Administration Plans Even Bigger EPA Cuts For ‘08: Everything from Libraries to Laboratories Face Chopping Block.
In The News
In The Public Interest
NHTSA's Past and Potential
Monday, September 18. 2006

Forty years ago this week, President Lyndon B. Johnson, in a ceremony at the White House, which included me, signed into law the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966. Thus, for the first time, the giant auto industry was no longer exclusively able to decide the margins of casualties in crashes. It had to meet mandatory federal safety standards.

Before the signing ceremony, a New York Times reporter called me and expected that I would have a statement. I had worked with him and other reporters for months on the developing, blockbuster story of auto safety suppression and the battles with the auto companies and their suave lawyer, Lloyd Cutler, in the Senate and in the House of Representatives. Complete Story

Do You Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is?































Ride Cometh Before The Fall

Lower Prices Cometh After The Fall

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.

As happens most years, drivers take lots of road trips in the summer, and not so much in the fall. This drop in demand usually results in a drop in price. This year is no different. Reflecting the importance of availability, Ethanol 85 is either the least or most expensive automobile fuel, depending on the region.

Teen Idol and BWC Staffer Gareth MackrillBWC High-Mileage Review: The Toyota Prius

We Give It Two Green Thumbs Way Up

We like the Prius. We like it a lot. It's the Granddaddy of this generation of high-mileage vehicles, and its popularity with consumers helped force automakers to produce more hybrid vehicles.

However, unlike the intelligent and hygienic members of Better World Club, the Prius isn't perfect. Like any car, the Prius has bugs that need to be worked out. Design flaws, questions about the "true" miles per gallon, and a hefty up-front sticker price all weigh in on the "liability" side of the Prius' ledger.

This review is lengthy, so if you want to cut directly to the sections that interest you most, we won't make you feel guilty (Unlike your mother, who keeps wondering why you don't call more often. What, you don't know how to use the phone anymore?). Complete Story

Now it's your turn. Please send us your comments using the handy form below:

Tell Us About Your Prius: The
Good, The Bad, and/or The Ugly
Use this link if the form above doesn't work
Begin At The Beginning. Hybrid Electric Vehicles Defined
Where The Prius Fits In As An HEV
Things People Like About The Prius
Things People Don't Like About The Prius
What's The Deal With The Batteries? The Shocking Truth: Battery Lifespan And Disposal
Quick Stats
Some of The Features (2007 Model Specific)
BWC Member Comments
Various Awards
Recall Info

Art-house Environmentalism: ‘The Last Winter' Premiers at Toronto Film Festival

Planetary Destruction Has Never Been Scarier

Considering the ongoing hot-button status of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, it seems only a matter of course that the battle surrounding its preservation be featured in a deeply psychological horror picture. At least that's what staffers at Better World Club think; and our hats are off to writer/director Larry Fessenden for finally giving us the goods. An account of an oil company's advance team struggling to open a section of Northern Alaska for drilling, Fessenden's latest feature, ‘The Last Winter', had its world premier on September 11th, 2006 at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Tension mounts early between Ed Pollock (Ron Perlman), North Industries' drill leader, and James Hoffman (James Le Gros), a scientist assigned to assess the environmental impact of future resource extraction. Hoffman's list of inconvenient truths has little effect on Pollock's dedication to energy independence (and its greed driven corporate sponsors), and the two men's rivalry is further heated by a shared desire for team member Abby Sellers (Connie Britton) – yeah, it has that, too. After one of the team goes missing, only to return disoriented and subject to unusual behaviors, chaos (of the subtle, mind-warping variety) ensues. And whether it's human enmity or something more eerily supernatural, there's a body count, and nature is definitely pissed. Excited? Us too. As Adam Nayman of Eye Weekly remarks, "Fessenden says he wants to make ‘B-movies with A-ideas in them,' and he's succeeded astonishingly."

No news yet on regional openings, but we're confident that a strong showing by our members will encourage more eco-horror films to come – but only, of course, until people are frightened enough to confront the problems they address.

Click here to check out the official film website.

Alphabet Coupe

Cleaner Cars A to Z

By the Union of Concerned Scientists

The United States is the world's largest consumer of oil, with two-thirds of that oil going to fuel the transportation sector. As a result, cars and trucks are a major contributor to air pollution and health problems in this country, and are responsible for more than 20 percent of U.S. global warming pollution.

The recent oil pipeline shutdown in Alaska and the high cost of gasoline underscore the importance of reducing our nation's oil dependence. Technologies are evolving that help do this by improving fuel economy and enabling alternative fuel use, but it can be hard to decipher the "alphabet soup" of high-tech terminology.

Click here to get the complete story on HEVs, FFVs, VVLT, and AFM.

More "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is" in Driving Change:

- A Fuel and his Money are Soon Parted. "Gas-Saving" Products Don't Always Deliver the Goods
- Thanks to BWC, Car Sharing Services Gaining In Popularity

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