October 18 , 2012

In This Issue
AAA Watch

Washington Watch


Member Alert

Website of the Month

In the News

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
Forward This Email and Earn Good Car-ma
Learn More About the Good Car-ma Program

AAA Watch
AAA “Restructures” Ohio, Trucks Now Come From 45 Miles Away

Better World Club Editor Now Just Recycling Old Articles With New States Written In

Remember all the way back to February, when we reported on AAA's tow service restructuring in California?

Restructuring is an inevitable part of corporate life, so we are not being critical of AAA for doing what it needs to do. However, the impact of that decision on stakeholders is critical. The restructuring resulted in AAA Northern California retaining contracts with a few larger companies rather than many smaller ones. Towers and members alike were concerned that service quality would be affected, although a representative of AAA Northern California denied that there would be a noticeable difference.

Now, the same restructuring is happening in Ohio. Two towing companies in Ashtabula County have had to lay off employees after being removed from AAA's primary service provider list. Mike Phillips, a contractor with AAA for 19 years, explained to Better World Club staff that he was given only 24 hours of notice, and that his business has decreased over 80%.

Read More
In The News
Service Offers Liability, Medical Protection to Cyclists by Robert Johnson

Insurance for bicyclists. I've heard this come up during many discussions about bicyclists over the past several years... liability insurance for bicyclists has never been an option because there wasn't a company in the United States that sold such a product.

Now there is.

Complete Story
Top Story
Better World Club Survey

Our Psychologist Said We Should Ask You About Your Feelings (Also Says It's Creepy That We Insist on Referring to Ourselves as "We")

Hey you! Yeah, you with the "Coexist" bumper sticker. For the past 10 years, you've helped Better World Club stay in business - and not just any business, either. You and 30,000 of your fellow members have validated our choice to increase environmental and social responsibility along with our profits. We like validation. Our therapist says it makes us feel more secure.

Since day one, our members have been an incredible resource. You sacrifice your time and energy to make the world a better place - and you give us all kinds of grief when we screw up.

We'd like to get to know you better. Since taking all 30,000 of you out for coffee would seriously annoy our local baristas, we've had to settle on this survey.

Start the survey

We'd also like to remind you that member referrals get you more than just our heartfelt thanks. If you refer your friends to us, you can earn a year of free membership. Check out the "Good Car-ma" section of the member website for more info.

Complete Story

Read Last Edition's Top Story:
Better World Club's Roadside Services Are Going Carbon-Neutral
We Teamed Up With A Green Web Host!

Better World Club's website is now being hosted by AISO, a data center powered by on-site solar panels. According to the EPA, AISO's solar panel system will eliminate the production of 34,488 lbs of carbon dioxide per year. They air-condition using rainwater collected from the roof of their facility in California. They're also installing a sod roof to help naturally insulate their buildings.

Check out their website for more info.

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Washington Watch
Massachusetts Official Says "No More Superhighways"

Shows That In Spite of Earlier Reports, the Federal Transportation Bill Can't Ruin Everything

In the aftermath of MAP-21, many advocates are feeling justifiably discouraged. The bill guts protection for programs that increase the health and safety of kids, hikers, cyclists and pedestrians. Various alt-transit advocacy groups are gearing up to approach their states' governing bodies and encourage them to set aside as much funding as possible. Their fear, however, is that states can now transfer up to 50% of Transportation Alternatives Program funding to any other use without explanation.

As stated by Mary Hall of America Bikes, "The state opt-out provision is a major blow to funding levels. A state that chooses to opt out can use this funding for any program with no additional restrictions. Even a state DOT that cares about biking and walking may be tempted to have unrestricted funding for highway uses" (see a full analysis of the bill here).

Read More
Website of the Month

Embark Transit Apps: For the Confused iPhone in Your Life

With the iPhone 5, Apple has moved away from their competitor, Google - with somewhat disastrous results, if you're a transit rider or cyclist. Apple's maps, besides having display problems, don't include non-car routes. Instead, they provide links to sites like Embark, a San Francisco-based startup. Their apps have been used over 1.3 million times since Apple's split from Google. Embark is currently available for 12 transit systems, with more on the way - and it's totally free.
Member Alert
Does Your Car Smell Like French Fries?

Are you a returning Better World Club member who has recently switched to biodiesel or natural gas? Purchased an electric or hybrid vehicle? Not only are you awesome, but you're also eligible for an ongoing discount of 5% per year. When it comes time to renew, send us an email with your alternative-fuel vehicle's make, model, and VIN number.

Do You Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is?
Is Smog Over?
NOAA research shows a 98 percent drop in some vehicle-related air pollutants in L.A.
by Claire Martin

At one point during the past several decades, the brownish-pink layer of pollution blanketing Los Angeles got so bad that it required the use of smog masks and smog alerts. According to a photo retrospective of the city's smog problem, a public-relations effort once culminated in the crowning of a Miss Smog Fighter. Even as recently as the early 2000s, L.A. was synonymous with smog -- and for good reason.

Read More

2013 Green Car Buyers Guide: Hybrids, Diesels, Plug-Ins
by John Voelcker for Green Car Reports

It's autumn, which means that new 2013 cars are now showing up in dealerships all across the country. With gas prices high and new fuel-economy standards in effect, automakers are rolling out new green cars of every type. Here's our selective list of the important new green models you'll be able to buy over the next year.

Read More

Riding the Bus Is...Sexy?

We never thought we'd plan a vacation around Denmark's public buses, but this commercial makes them look like a cross between a roller coaster, a spa, and a rock concert.

Take a look


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