Archive for cars

’tis the season to be greener

The phrase “kill 2 birds with 1 stone” comes to mind– but on a blog concerned for the environment, that might not be the best choice.

 Let’s just say that you can: buy a unique Christmas gift AND do your part to “save the world.”

Check out some of this season’s more greener items, and see if you can’t spread some holiday cheer!

Kill a Watt

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We buy appliances everyday and have no idea how much electricity it is actually costing us. That new gift may look cool, but how much energy is it sucking away? And what is it doing to your electricity bill? The Kill a Watt allows you to plug it in to an electric wall outlet, and then plug your appliance into that. The Kill a Watt then tells you exactly how much energy you’re using. If you leave it on, it will count killowatt-hours. I wonder what’s worse: the new HD TV, or your constantly running fridge. ($24.99)

Solio Hybrid 1000

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About the size of a remote control, the Solio Hybrid 1000 allows you to charge a normal cell phone with 10-12 hours of direct sunlight. It’s perfect for a hiker or outdoorsman also, who just may never be near electricity! If you have no sun available, the Solio also charges via a computer’s USB port. ($79.95)

 Hydrocar

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You never know when the kids want to go “green.” Ths Hydrocar is a toy car that contains a fuel cell and runs on hydrogen gas. The fuel cell splits water into hydrogen and oxygen with direct sunlight. If your kid is a future-engineer: the car requries set-up for a fully functioning automobile! ($85)

ZipCar Gift Certificate

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Last post, I discussed the ZipCar program. Don’t forget to buy your friend, especially those in college, a ZipCar membership or gift certificate. The ZipCar allows those living in urband areas to “rent” a car by the hour, starting at $5/hour, for quick errands and trips. For the extra environmentally friendly, many of these cars are hybrids. It’s a great alternative if a bike can’t do the trick.

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The ZipCar

  Below, I report on the newest car rental company that attempts to deal with urban living and the impact of automobiles. 

 For more information, you can log-on to www.zipcar.com

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Do one of these. Atleast!

Okay. So many are guilty of preaching global warming to their friends blah blah blah without telling that friend what THEY can do. 

Consider yourself a friend and consider these.

 1. Use Compacy Flourescent Bulbs

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2. Keep your tires inflated (saves gas!)

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3. Take shorter showers

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4. Plant a tree

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5. Put on a sweatshirt if you’re cold (don’t turn up the heat)

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6. Turn off your computer at night

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7. Reduce garbage and recycle

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8. Carpool

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9. Go hybrid.

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10. Tell a friend!

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50-Cent (carbon tax)

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 Okay, so maybe we’re not talking about rap music.

 But 50-cents is all one Congressman wants to curb the greenhouse gas problem.

U.S. Rep John Dingell is calling for a 50-cent-per-gallon increase in gasoline tax. The proposal could generate hundreds of billions of dollars per year. More importantly, it would cause Americans to think twice about large SUVs.

 But that’s not where the plan ends.

Dingell wants a $50 a ton tax on carbon released from burning coal, petroleum or natural gas.  Dingell also proposes a reduction on mortgage interests for smaller houses. This, he says, rewards those that live a lifestyle with less of a carbon footprint.

 And, did I mention Rep John Dingell is from Detroit, aka, the motor city?

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Well, Dingell claims the car industry won’t be completely crushed. He will exempt the tax for diesel, allowing automobile manufacturers to still capitalize on extra-large cars and trucks that would utilize the chepar diesel.

“I’m trying to have everybody understand that this is going to cost and that it’s going to have a measure of pain that you’re not going to like.”  -U.S. Rep John Dingell

 The positives?  Economists believe this is the easiest, most efficeint way to cut down on carbon and is much easier than the cap-and-trade system, which could be hard to implement.

And the negative side?  A tax on carbon would effect everything from heating your home in the winter to the cost of your electricity.  Simply put, Rep. Dingell could be a very unpopular man.

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Dingell also says that this is just a proposal and he anxiously waits for feedback on the plan.

(And believe me, he’ll be getting more than feedback on this.)

 

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Smart Car, Smart Idea.

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What happens when you cross an environmentally-friendly idea with a work of art? 

You get the Smart Car.

Created by Mercedes, the Smart Car already boasts a waiting list of 20,000, even though its not due to hit the U.S. market  until early 2008.  The SmartCar’s base price is expected to be about $12,000 with a fuel efficeincy of 40 miles per gallon. 

 It’s hard to imagine that just 5 years ago the Hummer H2 was the hot new car.

The big question is whether the Smart Car will catch on with Americans.  For urban living, the size is an obvious advantage. Not to mention, it’s energy efficeincy is a positive for anyone. But will it fit the lifestyles of most Americans? The Home Depot runs? The soccer team carpool? Certainly, the Smart Car isn’t for everyone.

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In Europe, interest in the Smart Car is diminishing and the company is losing billions of dollars. There’s no guaruntee that it will be a complete success here either.  But what if it is?

The Smart Car could be a ground-breaking asset to the “Go Green” movement.  It’s a solution to some of our most pressing environmental concerns.  An environmentally-friendly product that is infiltrating our daily lives. It  sends a message to the American people that going “green” is here and happening.

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