June 2007


Back To The Future:

Fleet Fuel Economy Standards That Were "Totally Radical" Back In The 80's Are Finally Being Updated*

The Senate Agreed To Raise MPG Standards Now We Need Your Help With The House

Better World Club launched a campaign back in the August 2006 issue of 'Driving Change' to raise fuel economy standards. It took a while, but Congress finally got with the program: The Senate recently passed a new energy bill, which includes new laws against fuel price gouging, an increase in ethanol production, boosting the use of biofuels, and raising the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards from 22.7 MPG to 35 MPG for cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks by the year 2020.

The measure has the potential to save the nation 2.5 million barrels of oil per day beginning in 2025 when many of the new cars will be on the road.

The House is expected to begin discussing the legislation next week, and we need your help. Drive Change by contacting your representative and letting him/her know that you support higher fuel efficiency standards.. Emails are great, but we also encourage readers to call and send letters as well.

[*To be honest, even in the 80's, the 22.7 MPG standard wasn't all that great. We just wanted to use "Totally Radical" in a headline.]

Current Funding Scheme Is A Train Wreck

Help Get Amtrak On The Right Track

In a bi-partisan effort, Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Trent Lott (R-MS) are co-sponsoring a bill that would improve our country's (relatively poor) intercity passenger rail infrastructure.

Senate Bill 294, the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act, is important because it would, for the first time in US history, establish a federal funding formula for intercity passenger rail that is on par with other modes of transportation. Currently the federal government pays for 80-90% of the capital cost of road projects, 80% for airport projects, 30-50% for transit projects, but nothing for intercity passenger rail infrastructure outside of the money that goes to Amtrak to maintain the Northeast Corridor. States have been left to pick up the tab to pay for infrastructure upgrades for rail corridors like the Pacific Northwest corridor between Eugene, OR and Seattle, WA.

We encourage our readers to Drive Change and let Congress know that you support the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act. Emails are great, but we also encourage readers to call and send letters as well.

Help WestStart-CALSTART Promote Alternative Fuels In California

WestStart-CALSTART is a non-profit organization sponsoring legislation in the California State Assembly to create high-quality jobs, clean the air and improve energy efficiency. Click here to learn more.

Haiku Activism!

The true spirit of Bushido calls for a balance between the art of war and just plain old art. Once you've signed a petition for the EPA, why not show your sensitive, artistic side by sending them a haiku? It's the honorable thing to do.

It's well-known worldwide
Global warming is a fact
Now it's time to act!
- Carrie S.
Oregon, WI

Click here to read more BWC member haikus.

Simple Things You Can Do To Fight Global Warming

Don't Fill Your Filters

It's so easy! Clean or replace filters on your furnace and air conditioner. Cleaning a dirty air filter can save 350 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.

Our energy future?Senate Passes Energy Bill, Increases Fuel Mileage Standard

Compromise or Sellout?

A Little Of Both?

The U.S. Senate passed energy legislation late Thursday night that mandates a 40 percent increase in fuel economy standards by 2020 and calls for a massive expansion of renewable fuels production.

Compared to the energy policy generated by Cheney's secret meetings a few years ago, this new bill represents a huge step forward. Still, Republicans derailed funding for $32 billion in renewable energy tax breaks by increasing taxes on oil companies, and blocked a measure requiring utilities to generate more electricity from renewable sources.

The final vote, 65-27, came after more than a week of intense debate that reflected the long-standing partisan and regional divides over the nation's energy future, as well as the pervasive lobbying power of electric utilities, auto manufacturers and the oil industry. Complete Story

More 'Washington Watch' in 'Kicking Asphalt'

- Bush Orders Regulatory Action on Climate, Fuel Efficiency
- Warming Cited For $900 Billion Insurance Risk
- Keeping Up With The Chinese? Ask Your Senator To Support Higher Fuel Mileage Standards
- Bush's Climate Policy Selflessly Ensures that No Progress Will Be Made During His Tenure--And the G8 Buys It


The Prius gets a thumbs-upNo, The Hummer Actually Isn't More Energy Efficient Than A Prius

Let's Put This "Debate" To Rest

Ever wonder where urban legends come from? Like the one about Paul McCartney being dead, or the one about Paris Hilton finding religion in prison and producing a series of self-help DVDs titled 'Caged Wisdom'? How about this doozy: a Hummer is more energy efficient over its lifetime than a Prius.

Like most urban legends, it's hard to pinpoint the source. Was it an article by James L. Martin of the 60 Plus Association (, a lobbying group for the elderly that desires to be the conservative alternative to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)? Or was it the story by student reporter Chris Demorro that was picked up by the factually fastidious Rush Limbaugh? (Demorro says that he was actually coming at the Prius from the left, believing that hybrid technology is inferior to all electric vehicles.) Complete Story

Related Links

- CNW's 'Dust to Dust' study

- The "Paul McCartney is dead" urban legend

Additional Ways to Get Where You're Going:

They're gonna need a really long cord: Scientific American reports on electric jet engines.

Putting a new spin on the old "sugar in the gas tank" gag, scientists manage to turn sugar into fuel

Take one down, pass it around, 99 bottles of beer on the wall , er, roof. Chinese man builds a water-heating system out of recycled beer bottles.

Put down that duct tape and glue gun. Apparently, there's no easy fix for global warming.

If you would like to contribute your opinion to Driving Change's Giving Directions please email it to us at


Hertz So Good!

Hertz's "Green Collection" Gets Greener

In the October 2006 Issue of 'Driving Change' we reported on Hertz's "Green Collection", giving the company's green initiative a lukewarm review. The main problem was that Hertz merely took cars that they already maintained in their rental fleet, repackaged them, and promoted them as their "Green Collection". Many of the cars weren't even all that green (Buick LaCrosse, anyone?).

However, let it not be said that we don't give credit where credit is due. Hertz recently announced that it will be adding 3400 Toyota Priuses to its rental fleet by 2008.

ClimateCounts Confers Congratulations on Camera-Creator Canon as Current Champion of Country-wide Climate-friendly Company Competition

Today's Headline Brought To You By The Letter "C"

ClimateCounts, a non-profit organization created by Stonyfield Farm Inc. (who ranked 6th overall) rated 56 major companies based on 22 criteria to determine if they had measured their climate footprint, reduced their impact on global warming, supported (or suggested intent to block) progressive climate legislation, and publicly disclosed their climate actions clearly and comprehensively.

Topping the list was Canon, followed closely by Nike, Unilever, and IBM.

Related Links:

- Learn more about ClimateCounts
- Download a pocket-sized version of the climate scorecard
- Another climate champion...

More 'Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is' in 'Kicking Asphalt':

- Toyota Banking On Hybrids Despite Expected Arrival Of Ecological Rivals

- DHL Offers Carbon Neutral Shipping


Cave Grind Nigh

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