September 27, 2010

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Washington Watch

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In The News

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Better World Club Featured in New Book on Portland Green Business

BWC Member Specials

Better World Club members get 15% off emergency notification services from My Notification Service. And you thought that you couldn't have any more peace of mind than with your Better World Club membership!

Log in to the member section of our website to take advantage of the discount.

- Most Recent Kicking Asphalt: Member Payola Edition, 'Which Is Louder: Your Clothes or Your Values?'
- 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
Easy, Tiger!

You'll Impress them More by Saving Gas

We understand wanting to show off the vicious power of your silent new Prius, but you'll save even more fuel if you leave the racing to the professionals (who could stand to save some fuel themselves).

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Please Validate Us!

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.
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Save 3 to 5% on Insurance Just by Buying Through Better World!

On Top Of Other Discounts! And Free Carbon Offsets!! (Do We Sound Like that Progressive Insurance Lady from TV Yet?)

Hopefully You'll Now Understand Why We Can't Afford any Cavemen or a Talking Gecko

You can't go much of anywhere on the internet without seeing an offer for insurance savings. And anyone who watches any television (even if that's on the internet too) has seen that commercial with the overexcited woman ringing up an insurance customer to a chorus of discounts. Well, (and we're sure you're upset about this) we can't afford to inundate you with advertisements. That's partly because the BWC management is so cheap, and partly because we're getting our insurance customers such great discounts.

Not only do we give discounts to hybrid owners, good drivers, good students, for safety devices and covering more than one car (among other things), but you'll save 3 to 5% off the base insurance rate in the state where you live just for getting your quote through Better World. (This is when that lady would scream, "DISCOUNT!") Our auto insurance customers are eligible for a discount of around 7% on homeowners insurance when they purchase that from us as well (and that will cover your bicycle).

As we reported here and here, we've expanded the availability of our insurance services quite a bit over the last several months. A complete list of the states where we're currently quoting is available here. Click here for a quote.

And again (sigh!), for everyone who didn't click through to our previous announcements: Better World is an independent insurance agent that works for you. In addition to our many discounts, 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.

- Get a Quote and Save!

- Join Better World Club!

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Read Last Issue's Top Story:

- Better World Club Now Offering Free Bike Maps to Members!


...Plus a Whole Lot of Fun...and Science...and You Didn't Think Those Two Could go Together, Did You?

BikePortland is Your Go-to Source for Human Powered News in the Rose City and Beyond

Although, and as we're sure you've already guessed, focuses its news and events coverage on Portland, Oregon, it also follows bicycle and progressive transportation happenings on Capitol Hill and throughout the rest of the country. The site is also about to begin running a regular "Bike Science" column, written by an experienced engineer and bicycle component manufacturer, that "will investigate and demystify the science behind bikes, components, and accessories."

Even for its geographical bias, BikePortland news coverage is truly, ahem, fair and balanced, and readers engage in regular (and lengthy) discussions on developing issues, particularly surrounding bicycle infrastructure and the re-envisioning of traffic as bicycling becomes more popular. And, since Portland strives constantly to be at the forefront of "progressive urbanism...and alternative transportation" (see our plug of ourselves in the "In The News" section to the top left), the reportage and discussions at BikePortland are likely going to be similar to the discussions of those same issues in other American cities in the months and years to come. So, do yourself a favor and get in on the ground floor. (And find yourself some bike fun while you're at it.)

Better World Club is proud to partner with in its mission to realize a fun, safe, inspired, and bicycle friendly transportation future.

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Do you need fleet roadside assistance coverage? Learn more about our fleet program at our fleet roadside assistance page.
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Washington Watch
BWC Joins Reagan Secretary of State George Schultz and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in Opposing CA Prop 23

You Know, Just Our Usual Bedfellows

Proposition 23, the measure to suspend implementation of California's Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32), is perhaps the most significant initiative that voters in any state will be considering in November.

Not only will it affect the future of environmental legislation nationwide, but it will also be a test of Big Money's ability to manipulate the electorate.

Defeating Prop 23 is a priority of New Voice of Business, where Better World Club President Mitch Rofsky is a director. One of Better World Club's first policy initiatives was our support for AB 32, which requires California to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions back to 1990 levels by the year 2020, in turn bringing California into near compliance with the Kyoto Protocol.

Prop. 23 would suspend California's greenhouse gas emission laws until the state's unemployment, currently 12.3%, drops to 5.5% for four consecutive quarters. Until this happens, the state would not be able to propose or adopt new regulations under AB 32, nor could the state enforce previously adopted regulations.

TravelCool! Website of the Month

You Gave in and Let Your Husband Join You on Vacation, Why Not Snickers?

Fly Your Pets in Comfort (And for the Right Price) with Pet Airways

Sometimes, circumstances surrounding moving, long-term travel, or simply detachment issues demand that pet owners fly with their beloved companions. Many airlines allow small animals to be carried onto an airplane as carry-on luggage in small carriers that fit under the seats.

But that option can be stressful on some animals and can cost a pet owner around $150 dollars. What's more, the carry-on option only works for small animals that weigh less than 15 or 20 pounds, so larger dogs must be stored bellow the cabin as checked luggage. Flying with large animals stored as cargo can set a passenger back as much as $700 depending on the weight of the animal and the airline.

Pet Airways, the only pets only airline will fly your pet to and from nearly a dozen U.S. cities.

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If You Liked That Site...

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

Do You Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is?
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is. Literally.

Replacing Dollar Bills with One Dollar Coins Would Save Green All Around

Just Don't Put the Money in Your Mouth...It's Filthy

The United States has been stockpiling one dollar coins since 2007 when a law passed that requires the US Mint to produce four new presidential coins each year until Congress legislates otherwise. There are already over one billion dollars worth of coins ready for circulation, but nobody seems to want to use them.

The poor performance of the coin, which countries like Britain, Canada, and Japan already use successfully in comparable denominations, isn't just for force of habit: a negative feedback cycle at the cash register has customers afraid to use dollar coins because they think they might not be accepted as payment and cashiers afraid that customers won't accept them as change.

But! "Because a coin can last four decades while a note lasts only a few years, replacing the dollar bill with the coin could save the US $500m to $700m per year in printing and paper costs." Not to mention all of the water and energy savings. Money doesn't grow on trees, kids.

So get out there and really put your money where your mouth is! Fill your pockets with shiny dollar coins, use them for incidental purchases, and request them as change. We'll save ourselves some green and help green our money production at the same time.

Read the full BBC News article from which this report is adapted

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BWC High-Mileage Review
Prius, Je t'aime

We Just Keep Running Back…but the Habit Only Seems to Bother our Exes

It's true. We just ran a re-review of a high-mileage vehicle in the March edition of Kicking Asphalt. But with all of the press that the Toyota Prius has gotten over the past year, what with Toyota's accelerator pedal recall and the Prius' 10th birthday, we thought we should give our readers the lowdown on the newest generation of the poster-car of hybrid electric vehicles.

Four years ago, we gave the second generation Prius an enthusiastic two green thumbs up, (read our review of the 2006 Prius here), and little has changed. Literally. The 2010 Prius, the first model of the third generation, hasn't changed much visually since Toyota's 2003 redesign brought us the unique shape we're familiar with today. It's not a surprise, though, that Toyota would want to maintain that very recognizable aspect of the Prius' design. Even in the aftermath the public relations debacle that followed Toyota's accelerator pedal recall, the Prius remains a symbol of high-tech progress and green-mindedness. Understandably then, the newest Prius is even more fuel-efficient than previous models at 51 mpg on the highway and 48 mpg in the city.

But, like older Prius models, the 2010 still raises questions of "true" gas mileage, miles per gallon of course depending on the many factors associated with how and where a vehicle is driven. Though even still, it's hard to beat the 2010 Prius on fuel economy. Unfortunately, all that technical sophistication means that repairs should be left to the experts – and that can come with a hefty price tag. The Prius isn't inexpensive to begin with, and with the expiration of alternative vehicle tax incentives for Priuses bought in the United States, cost of ownership can be daunting. Some owners complain that frequent trips to the dealership offset any savings on fuel consumption.

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Recall Information
August 2010 Recalls

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

Club Car / Curt MFG / Ducati / Federal-Mogul / Ford / Forest River / Garmin / General Motors / General Parts, Inc. / Goodyear / Honda / Hyundai-Kia / Mazda / Mercedes-Benz / Nissan / Suburban / Toyota / Webasto / Yamaha

Lemon Information
2009 Audi A4

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: Steering
Complaint: Steering wheel shakes at low speeds and rubles when turning. One complainant had his power steering hose replaced by a dealer after the problem persisted and worsened. After 3,000 miles on the new hose, the shaking/rumbling returned. Dealer replacement of brake calipers for another complainant was also ineffective. Many complainants report persistent steering problems at low speeds from the time their vehicles were new.

Component: Visibility/Windshield Wipers
Complaint: Windshield wipers freeze and cannot be deiced because they recess below the hood when turned off. Liquid collects and freezes in the recess causing wiper blades not to clear the glass of the windshield.

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