May 2007


There but by the grace of
Congress go weCurrent 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.

California Bill Would Provide Incentives To Buy "Clean" Cars, While Surcharging "Dirty" Cars

Sounds Like Better World Club's Hybrid/Biodiesel Discount and Gas Guzzler Surcharge

Of course, this isn't the first time the state of California has copied us. We appointed a muscular leader with a funny name – BWC President Mitch Rofsky – years before Californians elected Gov. Schwarzenegger. Since we have so much in common, how can we not support the California Clean Car Discount (Assembly Bill 493)?

The discount would provide one-time rebates and one-time surcharges on the purchase of new cars based on each vehicle's emissions of global warming pollution. The rebates would be funded through one-time surcharges on new vehicles with higher emissions of global warming pollution. The bill also allows smog-forming pollution standards to be factored into the rebates and surcharges. The measure would affect new vehicle purchases only; used cars would not be part of this program.

Transportation is by far the largest source of global warming pollution in California, accounting for more than 40% of the state's heat-trapping emissions. There are over 20 million passenger vehicles on the road in California, and approximately 1.8 million new passenger cars and light-duty trucks are purchased each year. Even with existing vehicle regulations, a significant portion of global warming emissions in California are expected to continue to come from cars and trucks. Complete Story.

Frozen In Time

DOE's Implementation of Energy Efficiency Standards Moves at a Glacial Pace

In the wake of the 1970's energy crisis and in a rare showing of common sense, Congress decided that the US needed minimum energy efficiency standards for appliances. These standards, meant to lessen the US' energy consumption, were entrusted to the Department of Energy for creation and implementation. It's been thirty years now, and for the most part we're still waiting.

Most of the deadlines set by Congress are long past. For example, the mandated minimum efficiency standards for dishwashers and clothes dryers were supposed to have been met 12 years ago. The DOE also "just missed" (by ten years) deadlines for implementing minimum standards for kitchen ranges and ovens, as well as room air conditioners. Nor does the DOE show any sign of enacting these standards any time soon. Complete Story.

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.

Appliances suck
energy and heat our world.
Please make them cut back!

- Roberta R.
Evergreen, CO

Click here to read more BWC member haikus.

Simple Things You Can Do To Fight Global Warming

"On the Road" with the EPA.

Admitted Oil Addict George W. Bush Falls Off The Wagon

Attempt To Open Drilling Off The Coast Of Virginia Is An Obvious Cry For Help

In his last two State of the Union Addresses, the President dramatically (and correctly) noted that America was addicted to oil. This was good, because, as we all know, admitting you have a problem is the first step on the long road to recovery. And, once you admit your need for help, the next critical decision is to select a sponsor(s), the person/people who will provide the emotional support you need to stay sober.

Well, if Bush were in AA, he'd apparently pick Jack Daniels or Johnny Walker as his sponsor. When you're addicted to oil and the American Petroleum Institute is your sponsor, well, you tend to say that you'll give up oil…next year.

In the meantime, let's party and get drilled! Let's start by opening the Virginia coast and parts of the Gulf and Alaska coasts to offshore drilling. These areas have been off-limits since 1969, when a spill off the California coast dumped 3 million gallons of crude into the Pacific, devastating the local economy and ecosystems. Complete Story.

12-Step Contest!

No, we're not talking about country-style line dancing. The president (and the rest of the country, for that matter) needs your help! Send us your suggestions for a 12-step program to help America end its addiction to oil. We'll publish our favorite submission in the next issue of Driving Change.

More 'Washington Watch' in 'Kicking Asphalt'

- Gov. Schwarzenegger To EPA: "Ah'll Be Back" If CA Greenhouse Gas Regs Not Approved
- Bush Orders Regulatory Action on Climate, Fuel Efficiency
- Warming Cited For $900 Billion Insurance Risk


Rearing Cattle Produces More Greenhouse Gases Than Driving Cars, UN Report Warns

Cattle-rearing generates more global warming greenhouse gases, as measured in CO2 equivalent, than transportation, and smarter production methods, including improved animal diets to reduce enteric fermentation and consequent methane emissions, are urgently needed, according to a new United Nations report released today.

"Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today's most serious environmental problems," senior UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) official Henning Steinfeld said. "Urgent action is required to remedy the situation." Complete Story.

Additional Ways to Get Where You're Going:

They put the drive in the coconut: Coconut oil powers island's cars.

MSNBC reports that hybrid taxis are the latest step in NYC green plan. The next step: Replace that mysterious gas smell with a mysterious patchouli smell.

Are you an active, on-the-go kind of person who doesn't have time to wait around for global climate change? Well, here's some good news: A new report shows global climate change is happening even faster than previously forecast! Now hustle out there and get yourself a Big Mac and an iced mocha Frappuccino, stat!

Can't they just wrap them in aluminum foil? Global warming cooks wild potatoes and peanuts.

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


From The Viper To The Volt:

Bob Lutz's Hybrid Electric Conversion

Better World Club wrote a story about GM's love affair with the V-8 engine in the April 2005 issue of ‘Kicking Asphalt'. We quoted several pearls of wisdom from GM design guru Bob Lutz, including: "Right now the drive for more and more power in cars is way larger than the drive for more and more hybrids" and "We have the (V-8 engine), and they (Toyota) don't."

Now, two years, billions of dollars in losses, and thousands of laid-off workers later, Lutz is starting to see the light. The creator of the less-than-eco-friendly Dodge Viper and the V-16 (yes, V-16) Cadillac Sixteen concept car, is jacked about GM's latest concept car, the Chevy Volt. Lutz said this was the car he was most excited about, and the one that will be the most significant for GM. This is significant for the environment because the Volt is a plug-in hybrid.

If GM can iron out the remaining bugs in the batteries, the Volt will go about 40 miles on an electric charge. After that, the internal combustion engine would engage and recharge the battery while you drive. On a 60-mile trip drivers would receive the equivalent of 150 mpg with the first 40 miles powered by electricity and the last 20 miles powered by a combination of electricity and gasoline.

GM hopes to begin large-scale production of the Volt by 2010.

Related Links

- More about the Volt
- More about Voltron

The Devil's In The Detailing

Unless It's Done By Advanced Mobile

Paradoxically, cleaning cars is a dirty business. Runoff from washing cars generates billions of gallons of polluted wastewater annually. Advanced Mobile, LLC, a nationally recognized provider of premium mobile auto detailing and auto glass services, is doing their part to reduce water consumption and keeping hazardous waste from entering storm drains.

Advanced Mobile's specialty is cleaning commercial fleets using a unique eco-friendly method. This revolutionary approach to car cleaning earned Advanced Mobile a "Water Efficiency Leader Award" from the EPA for their promotion of water conservation. Advanced Mobile is also third-party certified by EnviroStars for their ongoing commitment to reducing hazardous waste.

Learn more about Advanced Mobile at their website,

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

- Chevrolet's Triple-Treat

- PepsiCo Makes Big Renewable Energy Buy


Drench Vain Gig

#1 GoodSearch Result For "Drench Vain Gig" - What is GoodSearch?

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