September 23, 2011

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AAA Watch
Big Oil Candidate Rick Perry Knows AAA...and We're Not Talking Credit Ratings Anymore

Republican Presidential Hopeful Dials CEO of AAA Southern California for Campaign Cash

On August 16, POLITICO reported that Texas Governor Rick Perry would be holding a conference call that day to reach out to potential donors in California. While it was reported that, "It's uncertain if they'll all be on the call...Perry's organization has quickly put together an impressive list of names on the invite," a list which included Thomas McKernan, Chief Executive of AAA Southern California and AAA Texas LLC.

Rick Perry has proven himself to be one of the best political fundraisers in history, having collected nearly $120 million in contributions for state races in Texas since 1998, when he ran for lieutenant governor. According to the National Institute on Money in State Politics (and as reported on August 15 at Think Progress), over $11 million of that huge sum came from the oil and gas industry.

Complete Story
In The News
BWC President Mitch Rofsky: "Too Much Government Regulation? Then Let's Perfect the Marketplace."

OK, Mitch, We Mentioned You. Can I Have My Raise Now?'

It may be hard to believe, but BWC President Mitch Rofsky doesn't save all of his opinions for Kicking Asphalt (It may be more accurate to say that Kicking Asphalt doesn't save all of its space for Rofsky's opinions).

Last week, published Rofsky's push for the marketplace to be the vehicle for more effective government regulation--a marketplace adjusted so that pollution is cleaned up and costs aren't dumped on 3rd parties.

You can find the link to the article here: Complete Story

But Rofsky doesn't limit himself to environmental policy. He also insists on blogging over at The Huffington Post. If you're interested in everything from how to reform tax policy to Obama's political missteps, and even political humor, you can find them here: Huffington Post

And while you're there, become Mitch's Fan and/or Friend. Believe us: he needs them.

Member Alert
Get Your Bike Maps!

We Know You Didn't Run That Light, But It Might be Nice to Know How to Get Away From the Cops Next Time

Or, you could just, you know, plan the fastest route to work. Or the safest. Or the fastest and the safest with the fewest hills. Or the most hills, to make your commute double as a quick training ride. You get the idea. Think of all of the things you can do with bike maps!

Maybe you just forgot? We definitely saw an increase in orders after we announced our wider bike map offerings last August, and we just wanted to make sure that all of our members knew that, well, those maps hadn't all gone out of stock. Check out a list of available bike maps here. Then make your order at the member section of the website.
Top Story
We Give and We Give and We Give...

And Soon You Can Give As Well

Better World Club Purchases Carbon Offsets for Annual Donation -- and You Can Soon Purchase Offsets by Using Our Carbon Calculator

Last year, we noted that if the weather wasn't getting warmer, it sure was getting weirder. Anybody want to disagree?

As all our members know, we donate 1% of our revenue to environmental cleanup and advocacy. Better World Club was the first travel company to offer carbon offsets and we provide free carbon offsets to our auto insurance clients for their first 2,000 miles of driving. Better World Club also offsets its own greenhouse gas emissions.

This year, BWC is involved with two new projects. The first is the Greater New Bedford LFT Utilization Project in New Bedford, Massachusetts, where BWC purchased 1,700 tons of offsets.

The Greater New Bedford LFG Utilization Project voluntarily captures and destroys methane from the Crapo Hill Landfill, located near Dartmouth, Massachusetts. The Project's emission reductions are expressed in metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e). These represent the destruction of LFG methane which would otherwise have been emitted directly into the atmosphere at a rate of 104,816 metric tons every year since the Project began in October 2005. Emission reductions are verified as part of the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) 2007.1 project registration process. The Project does not import electricity nor consume fossil fuels; therefore, there are no associated project emissions.

Better World Club has also purchased another 300 tons of greenhouse gas offsets in a Monterrey, Mexico hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) elimination project. HFCs have an extremely high global warming potential. A factory that produces gases for refrigeration, propellants, and foaming agents has installed a plasma arc facility to eliminate HFCs created during production of those gases. An electrically-charged plasma torch destroys the HFCs, which would normally be released into the atmosphere.

Better World Club's purchase of 4 million pounds of offsets makes it one of the larger U.S. buyers. Since starting business, BWC has purchased some 40 million pounds of carbon offsets. Thanks for helping us do more to do our part.

You can also receive a free carbon offset for your first 2,000 miles of driving by buying auto insurance from BWC. And don't forget: when you purchase a carbon offset, you also receive Good Car-ma through BWC's Car-ma Points.

Meanwhile, carbon offset purchases are not limited to Better World Club. No, you too can make the effort to offset your impact on the environment. Better World Club will soon offer a new carbon offset calculator to determine your carbon responsibilities.

Finally, next month, BWC will announce our donation to a critical policy reform effort. So stay tuned.

Read Last Issue's Top Story:

- Improve Your Karma with BWC's New "Good Car-ma" Program

Need To Get Out Of Town In A Hurry?

Try Our Spiffy Multi-Purpose Booking Engine

U.S. National Park Service

Experience Your America

The National Park Service has been entrusted with the preservation of America's national parks since 1916, and safeguards those very special places for the enjoyment of over 275 million visitors each year.

The Parks Service also assists tribes, local governments, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individual citizens in revitalizing their communities, preserving local history, celebrating local heritage, and creating close to home opportunities for kids and families to get outside, be active, and have fun.

In partnership with the National Parks Service, Better World Club proudly offers National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Passes for sale to our members. Members who purchase Parks Passes through Better World Club pay the same as they would were they to purchase through any other outlet, but receive a free carbon offset for each pass they buy. Enjoy our national parks while also helping to preserve them for the enjoyment of future generations.

Log in to the member section of the Better World Club website to find out how to get your pass(es) now!

Looking for coverage for your company's or organization's fleet? Contact us!

Save Up To 13% on Better World Auto Insurance!

Our Green Auto Insurance Includes a Free Carbon Offset. Click here to get a quote.

Join Now and Save 10%!

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Washington Watch
It's His Way or Off the Highway...Obama's Got Standards

New Fuel Economy Standards, That Is.

Will They Help the U.S. Get Off Oil?

In late July, the Obama administration announced an aggressive increase in its Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, which affect all cars and light trucks, from a target of 35.5 mpg in 2016 to 54.5 mpg by 2025.

Then, in August, the administration went on to announce the first ever fuel efficiency standards for trucks, buses, and other heavy duty vehicles. The standards, if adopted, would require vehicles in those categories manufactured between 2014 and 2018 to become 10 to 20 percent more efficient, depending on vehicle type.

At a time when more and more lawmakers have become increasingly resistant to new environmental regulations, these two announcements surely represent a strong commitment on the part of the Obama administration to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and move the United States toward energy independence. But will the new regulations alone be sufficient to achieve those goals?

Complete Story
TravelCool Website of the Month
Ride the Bike Maryland Tour du Port!

Join the Race--On Us

Uh...We Mean on Your Bike but BWC Will Pay For It

Bike Maryland exists to promote bicycling, increase safety, improve conditions, and provide a voice for bicyclists in Maryland. To do so, the organization works with businesses, universities, communities, and the state of Maryland to increase general bike-ability and pursue a forward thinking legislative agenda.

The Tour du Port is Bike Maryland's annual fundraiser and Baltimore's premiere cycling event. This year's Tour will be held on Sunday, October 9th and features guided rides of 13, 23, 40, 50, and 65 miles that depart from Baltimore's Waterfront Park. Registration fees go to support the Bike Maryland mission.

Bike Maryland has generously opened a limited number of free Tour du Port registrations to Better World Club members. If you'd like to participate in the Tour and haven't already purchased your registration, please contact us by Sept. 28th to request a spot.

For more information on the Tour, visit the Tour du Port registration page at the Bike Maryland website.

BWC Member Specials

The Red Roof Inn has a list of services that puts many pricier chains to shame. Pets stay free, wi-fi lurks around every corner, and tiny blueberry muffins are yours for the asking. Red Roof's website supports disaster relief. What's more, their 345 locations include low-flow toilets and showers, Eco-friendly laundry and cleaning products, and customized housekeeping services that minimize waste. BWC Members receive 15% off when booking online or by phone. Log in to the member section of our website to take advantage of the discount.

Do You Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is?
Toyota's Plug-In Hybrid Challenges Volt and Leaf

Toyota's newest hybrid, available in March of 2012, can run on batteries for 15 miles at speeds up to 67 mph. It also boasts a price tag that undercuts its two main competitors (a base-model Plug-In Prius will cost about $32,000, compared to $40,000 for the 2012 Chevy Volt and $36,000 for the Nissan Leaf). For longer distances and at higher speeds, the 49-mpg engine kicks in, allowing drivers the versatility of short electric-only trips and high-mpg cross-country adventures. Toyota expects the Plug-In to qualify for tax credits of $2,500. While it offers less than half the electric-only range of a Chevy Volt (which can travel an average of 35 miles before the gas engine engages), and can't touch the emission-free 100-mile range of the all-electric Leaf, the Toyota Prius has dominated the green car market since it was introduced in 1997. As the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle, and with sales topping 2 million, the new Prius will likely get a warm reception. Reviewers say style and handling are comparable to other models, so it remains to be seen whether customers are willing to spend the extra $9,000 (a standard 2012 Prius will cost 23,500) to take one more small step on the road to cleaner driving.
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Airlines Balk At Mandatory EU Carbon Trading

As of 2012 the EU plans to include airlines in its mandatory carbon trading program. This type of carbon reduction, also known as "cap and trade," has been in place in Europe since 2005. It would require airlines to purchase permits for 15% of the emissions caused by flights to and from Europe. The US, China, and various Asian airlines are protesting the requirement, citing larger financial burdens due to longer flight-times. Critics say the money paid by airlines will not necessarily go toward furthering environmental causes, and that the cost will be reflected in higher ticket prices.
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Consumers Benefit From Downturn in Solar Market

Following the bankruptcy of U.S. solar manufacturer Solyndra and a rapid decline in share prices for SMA Solar (the world's largest manufacturer of solar inverters), you could understandably be concerned for the future expansion of solar energy. But while the industry as a whole suffers, consumers in the U.S. have more chances than ever to invest in affordable PV arrays. The cost of solar installation (including panels, wiring, and other infrastructure) fell 17% in 2010, and could fall a further 22% in 2011.
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