December 23, 2009

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In The News

TravelCool! Website of the Month
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Washington Watch
Department of Transportation Gives Travelers an Early Christmas Present

Consumer Advocates Succeed in Limiting Tarmac Waits to 3 Hours

On December 21, the Department of Transportation responded to pressure from consumer advocates and ordered airlines to allow passengers on delayed flights to deplane after three hours. CompleteStory
BWC Member Specials
- Most Recent Kicking Asphalt: Member Payola Edition, 'Think your Phone Company Doesn't Affect the Environment? Think Again. And Consider Credo Mobile'
- Eco-Travel Discounts
- Eco-Lodging Discounts
- Various Member Discounts

Save Up To 13% on Auto Insurance!

Save up to 13% on Your Insurance Premium. Click here to get a quote.
Offset Your Carbon Emissions!
1.) Precisely determine the carbon footprint of your air travel.
2.) Easily and precisely offset the greenhouse gas emissions of your automobile (or offset the emissions beyond the first 2,000 miles of driving if you are a Better World Club insurance client).
Gas-Saving Tips
Consider the High Road

Be the better person. Think ahead when you're approaching hills. Accelerate before you get to a hill, not while you're on it.

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Not that we're needy or anything, but we would love it if our intelligent and good-looking members could rate us on, a community-powered directory of green products and businesses.
Top Story
Better World Insurance Expands to Cover 18 New States!

Now Taking Quotes in 37 States and the District of Columbia

And to the Remaining States: We Need to Feel the Love. It's Nearly Christmas So Any Expensive Gift Will Do.

Better World Club is excited to announce that we've expanded our insurance offerings to cover 18 new states. Working with our friends at Gales Creek Insurance, we now offer automobile and home owner's insurance in 37 states and the District of Columbia. A complete list of states is available here, and our quote request form here. Click here to be reminded why you need good insurance.

Better World is an independent insurance agent that works for you. In addition to discounts for air bags, anti-lock brakes, and other safety devices, we also discount our rates for members of the Better World Club in many states ( join now!). And we are the only insurance company providing a FREE carbon offset to cover the first 2,000 miles of greenhouse gas emissions generated by your automobile.

If you live in one of the states where we're still not quoting, we're sorry, but we're also constantly at work expanding and upgrading our insurance program. And we could always use your help. Come to think of it, we've always had special places in our hearts for Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, and (whew!) Wyoming. And we'd love to come visit. Email us and let us know where we'll be staying. We'll only need a couple of bedrooms and our own bath. (Or just send us your contact information so that we can notify you once we're able to get you a quote.)

- Get A Quote!
- Join Better World Club!

Read Last Issue's Top Story:

- It's That Time of Year Again (BWC Announces its Carbon Offset Contributions for the 2008/2009 Fiscal Year)


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In The News

It's the holidays, so we are reprinting an article from the KA Archives that demonstrates that peace & love are not the only eternal issues. May everyone find joy -- and energy independence -- this season and in the coming New Year!

163 BC

''All the News That's Fit to Chisel!"

Hebrews Claim to Set New Record for Energy Efficiency

No Longer Have to Depend on Persians for Eternal Oil?

It's a Miracle!

The Jews of Jerusalem claimed a new record for energy efficiency today as their temple's eternal light burned for eight
days despite having only one day's supply of oil.

Does this mean an answer to the Eternal Oil Crisis?

As the eternal flame is sustained by olive oil, this could be a challenge to OPEC (the Olive Petroleum Exporting Countries).

However, doubts were raised since word of the oil miracle was contained within an epistle stating that the Jews defeated the Greeks in a battle over the Temple of Jerusalem.

A spokesman for pro-roadway lobbying group Alpha Alpha Alpha (AAA) put it this way: "Right! And the guys who teach abacus in town can kick the Spartan's asses! And I'm King Antiochus the Fourth!" Complete Story
TravelCool! Website of the Month

Stay Green While You're Enjoying all that Powdery White

Don't get too excited. As much as BWC President Mitch Rofsky still laments the closing of Studio 54, we're not talking about that powdery white...or that green for that matter. The Ski Area Citizen's Coalition (SACC) can, however, help you make better environmental decisions in planning your next ski trip. Read More.

If You Liked That Site...

Be sure to take a peek at our 'Bodacious Page of Travel Links and Resources.'

BWC Alternative Fuel Report
Prices Rise as Temperatures Fall

We Know, This Could Have Used a Better Headline. But We Really Just Wanted to Get Right Down to Numbers.




























Since last we reported in July, fuel prices have continued to rise both regionally and nationally. Although gasoline and diesel prices also rose, more significant gains were seen for alternative fuels -- with the exception of CNG, which dropped slightly from our July figure due to low prices in the Midwest.

Despite rising prices, the onset of winter does mean lower temperatures. Biodiesel users should remember that fuel blends with higher concentrations of biofuels will gel in colder weather. Many stations that sell biodiesel, particularly in the West and Midwest, have stopped selling blends higher than B50 for the season. Check with your local fueling station or alternative fuel guru for advice on how to weather the weather in your biodiesel vehicle this season.




































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 (
like reopening the court martial of Benedict Arnold). Or you can feed your fetish by checking out BWC's previous Alternative Fuel Report, "Rapture! July is International 'Blondie and Deborah Harry' Month," published in the July 31st issue of 'Kicking Asphalt.'

BWC High-Mileage Review
There's Nothing Mickey Mouse* About the MINI

The MINI Cooper is sporty and it has style. In fact, it's probably the only compact car that large truck and SUV enthusiasts won't make fun of. Coincidentally (or perhaps not), MINI also has the lowest gas mileage of the high-mileage compacts. Still, the mileage isn't bad, and if the MINI's sporty looks can get an Escalade driver to convert to a compact car, then all the better. MINI is even testing an all-electric version of the Cooper (see "It's Electric!" below for more details).

Long story short: overall, we like the MINI Cooper.

*Our former editor took an informal poll of BWC staffers, and none of us had heard the expression " Mickey Mouse," meaning poorly done, low quality, etc. Despite this fact, the headline remained unchanged. Don't say we never did anything for you, Erik.

Complete Story

Recall Information
November 2009 Recalls

You can check out the complete List of November Recalls, or go directly to a particular manufacturer:

Chrysler / Country Coach / Dutchmen / Ferrari / Jaguar / Mercedes-Benz / Mitsubishi / Nissan / Roadtrek / Spartan / Toyota / Volvo

**Special Recall Report**

October 2009

Toyota is recalling certain model year 2004-2010 passenger vehicles. The accelerator pedal can get stuck in the wide open position due to its being trapped by an unsecured or incompatible driver's floor mat. A stuck open accelerator pedal may result in very high vehicle speeds and make it difficult to stop the vehicle, which could cause a crash, serious injury, or death. Toyota will notify owners of affected vehicles to remove any driver's floor mat and not replace it with any other floor mat pending the development of model-specific remedies. Toyota will mail a second notification to owners of affected vehicles notifying them of the free remedy when it is available. The first notice was mailed on October 30, 2009 and Toyota will advise NHTSA on an estimate of the date when the remedy parts will be available. Owners may contact Toyota at 1-800-331-4331, Lexus at 1-800-255-3987.

Toyota to fix 'very dangerous' gas pedal defects

by Ken Bensinger and Ralph Vartabedian
Los Angeles Times

The recall, which covers 4.26 million cars and trucks, is aimed at reducing the vehicles' risk of sudden accelerations, which have led to 19 deaths since the 2002 model year.

Moving to correct what federal regulators have termed a "very dangerous problem," Toyota Motor Corp. said it would modify and replace gas pedals on 4.26 million cars and trucks to reduce the vehicles' risk of accelerating out of control.

Toyota said the measures were designed to prevent floor mats from jamming the accelerator pedal open. As an additional precaution, the Japanese automaker said most of its cars would be modified so that the brake overrides the accelerator if both pedals are pressed at the same time. Complete Story

Lemon Information
The 2009 Cadillac Escalade

Better World Club's "Lemon Information" highlights consumer complaints against a different car model each month. We are not editorializing or claiming that these cars are necessarily lemons. Instead, we are merely providing information and ask readers to form their own opinions.

Component: Brakes
Consequence: Driver owns an Escalade Hybrid. The brake warning light suddenly illuminated while driving, and the brakes lost all power. After bringing the vehicle to a halt, the driver turned off and restarted the vehicle, which brought power back to the brakes.

Component: Headlights
Consequence: Headlights are set to such a height that they blind drivers approaching in smaller passenger cars. This is a design failure, not a mechanical failure.

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