March 2007

Member Alert

In The News

Top Story


Washington Watch

Member Alert
Need Guidance?

Some Folks Recommend Talking To A Bartender Or Joining A Religion

We Prefer BWC's Hotel Guidebooks

Spring is here! Are you prepared for the upcoming travel season? To take advantage of car rental and hotel discounts please submit a request for our hotel guidebook. The form is in your member handbook on pages 6 and 7. Please send us an email if you cannot locate the form.

If you're planning a trip, you might need to order a map. Please keep in mind that we need two weeks to process map orders and trip routing requests. You may submit requests via phone, email, or fax. A copy of the order form can be found on our website.
In The News

BWC President Mitch Rofsky is Interviewed by sustainlane

Interview Highlight: Mitch Jumps Up and Down on a Couch and Professes his Love for Carbon Offsets

How does Better World Club compete against AAA? An interview with Mitch Rofsky, Better World Club's President and co-founder.

Virtually everything AAA does, Better World Club does with a green spin. Travel discounts at major hotel chains across the country as well as on eco-travel trips. Car rental discounts and up to 15% off on hybrids and biodiesel rentals. Roadside assistance with discounts on membership fees for drivers of hybrids. And following the likes of Working Assets, 1% of annual revenues are donated to nonprofits working toward environmental clean-up and advocacy. President and co-founder Mitchell Rofsky talked to us about the only environmental auto club in the United States.

Why did you start Better World Club?
I'd been managing the Working Assets Mutual Fund when the Board of Directors sold the company. There'd been an explosion of socially screened mutual funds, so I decided to apply the concept to insurance. Within a year or two, the environmental community came to me and said, AAA is part of the highway lobby, can you help us fight them politically? And I said, maybe we can compete with AAA.

Why did you go after AAA's market?
For one thing, they don't tell their members what they're doing, politically. You can read a lot of their magazines and not have any idea that they opposed the Clean Air Act and mass transit funding in the past and bike paths and greenhouse gas regulations today.

That must create some challenges for you.
AAA's image is fairly positive. Since nobody knows about their anti-environmental lobbying, we have to find a way to talk about it without focusing our marketing only on the negative. We feel we have to let people know, to a certain extent, what AAA's track record is. Finding that balance is one of our major challenges. We try to do it in a light way.

How do you keep it light?
We try to have fun with everything we do. Take a look at our enewsletters. One of our newsletters, Kicking Asphalt, was labeled The Onion of corporate newsletters. Complete Story


Learn more about the people brave enough to interview Mitch at
Top Story
We've Always Thought Of Ourselves As Rock Stars, So It Only Made Sense That We Go On Tour

Announcing BWC's Earth Day Tour 2007: Come See Us in Chicago, Portland, Seattle

Come See Our Brochures in Washington DC, Ohio, Oregon, and Massachusetts

Our Brochures Like to Travel, So Let Us Know If You'd Like Some

Earth Day is a busy time for us here at Better World Club, and leading up to it, the office is a flurry of activity (not unlike Mel Gibson's kitchen as he prepares for Passover).

This year, various BWC staffers will be hitting the road and running booths at Green Festival in Chicago (April 21st-22nd) and the Portland, Oregon Earth Day Celebration.

We're also mailing out Better World Club brochures to Earth Day events in Washington DC, Enon, OH, Eugene, OR, and Gardner, MA. Please send us an email if you would like us to send BWC brochures to an Earth Day event in your area. Complete Story

‘Kicking Asphalt' Is Going Bi-Weekly!

Readers Can Now Enjoy Our Mostly-Errer-Free Newsletter Twice As Often

We at BWC (and some of our readers) have noticed that Kicking Asphalt has, over time, been slowly growing larger and more unwieldy (like Russell Crowe's ego). In order to make KA less cluttered but still provide a wide variety of content, we've decided to slim it down and run it more often. So, instead of one huge enewsletter once a month, we will be producing two good-sized enewsletters twice a month. We're also opening a couple of girls' schools in South Africa*. Complete Story

[*Okay, this was Oprah, not us. However, Better World Club has paid to have cleaner, more efficient boilers installed in American schools.]
All The Fun Of A Protest March, But Without The Pepper Spray

Step It Up 2007

This April 14th, tens of thousands of Americans will gather all across the country at meaningful, iconic places to call for action on climate change. We will hike, bike, climb, walk, swim, kayak, canoe, or simply sit or stand with banners of our call to action: "STEP IT UP CONGRESS! CUT CARBON 80% BY 2050."

Better World Club is proud to be one of Step It Up 2007's allies. You can go to Step It Up 2007's official website to start or join an action.

What Can You Do In Two Minutes?*

The Green World Film Contest Is Accepting Submissions

If you had just two minutes to show someone what to see, feel and imagine about the future of our world and its resources, what would you do?

Get your message out to the world by participating in the GreenWorld Contest and get discovered as a powerful new talent. The winner will receive a $1,000 cash prize and have their work featured at our GreenWorld Celebration on May 9 during the 50th San Francisco International Film Festival. Learn more.

[*We decided to take the moral high road on this one and not make any obvious sex jokes with this headline. We invite devotees who are disappointed with this unusual show of good taste to make up their own.]

Member Specials


BWC Members Receive 10% Discount On Their Stay

Completely powered by the wind and sun, and recognized as one of the "top 10 eco-destinations in North America" by Natural Home and featured in USA Today, ABC News and the New York Times, the award-winning Inn Serendipity Bed and Breakfast in southwestern Wisconsin, is also the setting for innkeeper-authors' book, RURAL RENAISSANCE, about their journey to live and operate their business in a way that is both fossil-fuel free and climate neutral. Two guest rooms, starting at $105/night, double occupancy. Read the Complete Story or go to for more.

Need To Get Out Of Town In A Hurry?

Try Our Spiffy New Booking Engine

TravelCool Website of the Month: is the ultimate source for airplane seating, in-flight amenities and airline information.
Washington Watch
BWC Members Support Al Gore As He Testifies Before Congress

He Didn't Even Bring Us Back Any Souvenirs.

Is A Shot Glass Shaped Like The Washington Monument That Much To Ask For?

Oil State Senators Are Equally Disappointed With Gore Statements on Global Warming

Based on Associated Press reports.

Two weeks ago, Better World Club asked readers of its monthly action alert, Driving Change, to go to Al Gore's website and fill out postcards that would be personally delivered to Congress by the former VP. Wednesday, March 21st, Gore marched to Capital Hill with 519,414 signatures, urging Congress to take immediate action to solve the global climate crisis. 1,500 of those signatures came from readers of Driving Change.

Although Gore testified that the issue should not be partisan or political, he faced a skeptical reception from Republicans who questioned his personal commitment to reducing energy usage and the science behind his film. Nearly all of the skeptics are representatives of oil producing states.

"You're not just off a little, you're totally wrong," said Texas Rep. Joe Barton, the leading Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, as he challenged Gore's conclusion that carbon dioxide emissions cause rising global temperatures. Barton and Gore's exchange grew testy at one point - Barton demanding that Gore get to the point and Gore responding that he would like time to answer without being interrupted. Complete Story

We at BWC would like to thank all of those who read Driving Change and participated in Al's postcard campaign. If you've never read DC, you can check out archived issues or sign up to receive it here.

The Dirty Secret About Clean Cars

Automakers Push Flex-Fuel Vehicles, Reject Efficiency Standards

President Bush enjoyed a high-profile photo-op Monday with the heads of the Big Three automakers and their latest clean-car models. The impressive lineup included a General Motors model that can run on ethanol, a plug-in Ford powered by hydrogen, and a DaimlerChrysler Jeep filled with a biodiesel blend.

It was smiles all around as the automakers announced they would make half of America's vehicles ethanol-ready by 2012. "If you want to reduce gasoline usagelike I believe we need to do so for national-security reasons as well as for environmental concernsthe consumer has got to be in a position to make a rational choice," said a beaming Bush.

But there's a dirty secret about clean cars. The policies for flexible-fuel vehiclesthose that can run on mixtures of gasoline and more than 10 percent ethanol are written in such a way that they result in a number of unintended consequences. One result is that automakers gain some leeway in meeting fuel-economy standards if they produce flexible-fuel cars and trucks. So Detroit's automakers have been pumping out hundreds of thousands of the vehicles, even though most consumers have no access to alternative fuels because they're available at only a fraction of U.S. gas stations.

Here's why that's an issue. Automakers need to meet certain government standards for the fuel economy of their fleets. Complete Story

More Washington Watch in Driving Change:
- Auto Execs Make Tobacco Chiefs Look Almost Visionary
- Interior Dept. Energy Leases Prompt a Suit

Do You Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is?




























BWC Alternative Fuel Report

Not Unlike The Jeffersons, Fuel Prices Are "Movin' On Up"

Petroleum Diesel Stays Put At Its Working-Class Level And Relaxes In Its Recliner, Sort Of Like Archie Bunker





























Nationwide, fuel prices are on the rise. Averages for the fuel researched all jumped $0.05 or $0.06 in the last two weeks. E85 Ethanol and Petroleum Diesel were the only fuels that didn't follow this trend: E85 prices shot up $0.13 and Petroleum Diesel prices remained the same. The above-average jump in price for E85 can perhaps be traced to speculation for increased demand, based on the Bush administration's recent calls for increased production of ethanol and flex-fuel vehicles.

Regionally, B99 and B20 Biodiesel pricing rose more or less at a steady rate across the board, while E85 prices were much more volatile. In the West Coast and Mid West regions, for example, E85 prices shot up $0.36 and $0.32, respectively.

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 (giving manicures to ethereal filchers, taking your Uncle Fredo out for a boat ride, etc.) or you can feed your fetish by checking out BWC's previous Alternative Fuel Report, ‘With Summer Approaching, The Mercury - And Gas Prices - Are Rising' as published in the March issue of ‘Driving Change'.

Chrysler To Unveil Economical SUV

Durango Hybrid Part Of Effort To Catch Up With Rival Automakers

The News Journal

DaimlerChrysler's Dodge Durango hybrid will break new ground for Chrysler and large sport utility vehicles when it debuts early next year.

The Durango hybrid, built in Newark, is Chrysler's first hybrid passenger vehicle in production.

As one of the first large SUV hybrids on the market, the Durango will improve Chrysler's image as the manufacturer of gas guzzling, environmentally unfriendly trucks. Just as Toyota and other rivals have benefited from a greener image garnered by hybrids, Chrysler hopes to reap the benefits of going green. Complete Story

Ethanol Fuels Huge Corn Planting

U.S. farmers plan to cash in on the fuel ethanol boom by planting the largest area of corn in 63 years, potentially yielding a record crop and calming fears that renewable fuels will steal grain needed for food and feed, the federal government said Friday. Complete Story

San Francisco Bars Plastic Bags to Support the Environment--And Energy Independence

From The San Francisco Chronicle

Paper or plastic? Not anymore in San Francisco.

The city's Board of Supervisors approved groundbreaking legislation Tuesday to outlaw plastic checkout bags at large supermarkets in about six months and large chain pharmacies in about a year.

The ordinance, sponsored by Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, is the first such law in any city in the United States and has been drawing global scrutiny this week.

"I am astounded and surprised by the worldwide attention," Mirkarimi said. "Hopefully, other cities and other states will follow suit." Complete Story

Exxon Marks 18th Anniversary of Oil Spill--Or Is It 17th Anniversary of Litigation?

From The Nation

Alaskan wood carver Mike Webber unveiled his "Shame Pole" this past Friday in Cordova to mark the 18th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, which devastated the area and ruined lucrative herring and salmon fisheries.

The pole tells the grim story of the spill: sea ducks, a sea otter and eagle float dead on oil. A sick herring with lesions is featured. There's a boat for sale with a family crew on board, commemorating fishermen who went belly up, and a bottle of booze to remind people that Joe Hazelwood, who was captain of the Exxon Valdez, had been drinking before turning the helm of the ship over. Topping the pole is the upside-down face of former longtime Exxon CEO Lee Raymond, sporting a Pinocchio-like nose. Complete Story

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

- Mercedes-Benz A 160 CDI and Mercedes-Benz B 200 CDI Receive Environmental Award
- BOA Spends Green To Go Green: 2nd Largest Bank In The US Announces $20 Billion Environmental Initiative

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