Planet Driven

01/16/2012

Ford Motor Company Named Most Earth Friendly Automaker

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2012 Earth Angel Award - Most Earth Friendly Automaker - Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company Receives
5th Annual EARTH ANGEL AWARD
as Most Earth Friendy Automaker

by Martha Hindes

Going green has become a way of life at Ford Motor Company. From company President and Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally to those who tend to company property and grounds, protecting the environment is a primary responsibility on a daily basis.

Those familiar with buildings near company headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan can see some of that commitment first hand, where fields of air purifying flowers bloom during summer months and a nearby production facility wears a "green" roof of plants to help purify and recycle runoff water used there.

Ford was one of the earliest companies to recognize the need for an environmentally sustainable way of doing business and to begin that transformation to achieve it. That commitment has become reflected in every Ford facility, in the materials used in production and in the atmosphere it encourages throughout the company.

In the 12th annual Ford Sustainability Report Ford put out last June, it cited progress in improving fuel economy and safety and a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions and water use among its sustainable operations.

"Since 2000, our manufacturing facilities worldwide have reduced overall energy use by 40 percent, decreased CO2 emissions by 49 percent and cut water use by 62 percent," said Mulally in presenting the report. Full story.

10/17/2011

2012 Green Car Buyer's Guide

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Road & Travel Magazine presents its 2012 Green Car Buyer's Guide written by Martha Hindes

by Martha Hindes
Road & Travel Magazine Names Chevy Volt
Most Earth-Friendly Car of the Month

Deciding to drive green isn't an easy task. We can't simply go to a "green store" to swap out yesterday's wasteful wheels for an environmentally correct auto to replace it, since there's more than one remedy. In the past few years, hybrid vehicles that combine a small gasoline engine with a small electric motor have been gaining popularity as one earth-friendly solution. But it's not alone. How about clean diesels now just coming online that no longer belch dark clouds of sooty, smelly grit out of tail pipes? Or plug-in electrics on the horizon that never go near a gas pump and are just beginning to make a buzz.

Flexible fuel vehicles that can scarf down liquified plants or even moonshine to power them have been around for a decade or two. And research is continuing on other futuristic technologies such as fuel cells most people haven't yet heard about.

What's a buyer to do? To help answer that question, RTM has put together its 2012 Green Car Buyer's Guide with some of the various ecologically sensitive, fuel efficient vehicles you can buy today without mortgaging one's future in the process.

We choose the Chevy Volt from today's stable of contenders as our favorite for many reasons -- fuel economy, driving agility, security, interior space and style among them. And besides, it's so hot that dealers and buyers alike are falling all over themselves to get one. Read full guide picks.

07/05/2011

Road-Trip-Ready Vehicles for Summer 2011

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Cruze

American drivers love to spend their vacations hitting the open road. For those in the market for a new vehicle that they hope to log plenty of miles in while traveling, we've got your top vehicle picks for road trips.

"Since the invention of the automobile, Americans have enjoyed taking road trips. From wood-paneled station wagons to oversized conversion vans, most Americans have grown up taking road trips with their family and friends," said John Nielsen, AAA National Director of Auto Repair, Buying Services and Consumer Information. "Today's American road trips come in many different forms: family vacations, mancations, girlfriend getaways, romantic excursions and more. And the ideal vehicle for a road trip can come in as many different forms depending on where you want the road to take you and who will be joining you for the ride."

If you're about to embark on a cross-country trip, you'll want a set of wheels that's both economical and eco-friendly. Take a peek at the front-runners below, which offer plenty of cargo space, great mileage and most importantly, a fun driving experience:

Chevrolet Cruze Eco – From the Cavalier to the Cobalt to the Cruze, each generation of compact Chevrolet vehicles has been an improvement from the previous, and the Cruze is no exception. AAA Auto Buying experts tested the "Eco" version with a six-speed manual transmission, which is the non-hybrid gasoline fuel economy leader in its size category. It also received a five-star overall rating in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA's) more stringent new crash test program. AAA found the Cruze Eco to be a good value with impressive fuel economy, making it a smart pick for road trip lovers on a budget. For those looking to take more than two on their road trip, the Cruze lacks rear cup holders and a center armrest, and the rear seat may be cramped for tall passengers. 

Ford Focus – A definite improvement over the previous version, the new 2012 Ford Focus drives very nicely with above average ride and handling. Fuel economy and engine performance also are very good and highway cruising is impressively quiet for the small car field, making it a top pick for road trips. As with other cars in the category, it's ideal for two travelers as the backseat can be a bit cramped. 

Toyota Prius – The Toyota Prius is a road trip top pick because it's roomy, comfortable and economical. The hatchback design makes for exceptional flexibility, as well. The hybrid drivetrain sips fuel, and with careful driving, it can push fuel economy well past 50 mpg. However, for those who love engaging and sporty vehicles for their road trips, the Prius may not be the right choice. It's a secure and predictable ride, but not engaging to drive. 

Ford Escape Hybrid - For families with a bit more to tow, we can't leave the Escape Hybrid off this list. It's roomy cabin is perfect for a long ride and its expanded sun roof lets in lots of light. Driving in either pure electric mode, or with the gasoline-powered engine, fuel economy evens out to be great bang for the buck, and let's not forget the ability to tow a trailer or camper if needed. (Hey, sometimes a tent just isn't enough.)

Source: AAA, Road & Travel

 

05/24/2011

2011 Lexus CT 200h Road Test Review

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Lexus-ct-200h 
by Martha Hindes                       

Talk about split personalities. Bordering on brash, yet still subdued, the new 2011 Lexus ct 200h lays claim to a pure, undefiled image while teasing the need for speed.  A five-door (sic hatchback) compact done in Lexus' new "L-finesse" design language, it's meant to add zip to the brand's longstanding understated luxury image. The result, a sleeker, more defined premium sporty car that's a fuel-miserly full hybrid to the core. Whether it contends with blast-your-socks-off driving is another story.

Our Lexus-sponsored test drive at Florida's Delray Beach had slow roads bordering the Atlantic Ocean and a way of life so relaxed a local cop rode (and fell from) a dual-tire Segway. Not exactly a place to mash an accelerator in an expected flat-out run challenge with the likes of Mazda, Audi or Volvo. We'll defer to specs for that. The 1.8-liter, 98-hp four cylinder engine and 80-hp, 60-kW electric motor can morph into sport mode when enthusiastic driving's a must, gas stingier EV, ECO or normal when it's not.

We found it eager to a point, supple and charismatic enough to add some buzz, and firmly comfortable. But we think promised driving thrills could benefit from additional oomph. It delivers about 42 guiltless combined MPG (probably not enough to legally drive some HOV lanes solo like its Toyota Prius cousin). Available Pre-Collision and Radar Cruise Control can boost standard safety features. Initial $29,995 pricing (add $8K fully loaded), shouldn't break an entry-level luxury bank -- especially with fewer fill-ups.

[Read Full Article] For more road test reviews from partner Road & Travel Magazine, click here. Also visit partner, Planet Driven.

05/17/2011

The Cleanest Cities in the U.S.

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Clean cities More than half of all Americans live in cities with unhealthy levels of air pollution, most commonly masking itself as smog or soot, according to the American Lung Association (ALA). What's worse is that breathing in partical pollution can increase your risk of early death, heart attack, stroke or serious illness if you already suffer from asthma, cardiovascular disease or diabetes. 

When its inhaled, ozone irritates your lungs, causing a reaction similar to a bad sunburn inside your body.  And shocking as it is, despite the Clean Air Act and our nation's attempts to cut back on emission levels, air pollution has actually become worse in some parts of our country over the past year.

Two cities, however—Honolulu, HI and Santa Fe, NM—ranked among the cleanest in the U.S. in the new 2011 State of the Air report by the ALA. They're not alone. The following areas were ranked as the Top 10 Cleanest U.S. Cities for Year-Round Partical Pollution:

#1: Cheyenne, WY
#2: Santa Fe-Espanola, NM
#3: Tucson, AZ
#4: Honolulu, HI
#4: Great Falls, MT
#6: Anchorage, AK
#7: Amarillo, TX
#7: Albuquerque, NM
#9: Redding, CA
#10: Salinas, CA

Are you lucky enough to live in one of these clean, green cities? To see your state's air pollution grade, visit the State of the Air website

For more earth-friendly tips, visit RTM's Earth Tones. 

 

05/10/2011

All New for May 15, 2011 - 5 Frugal Tips for Living Green & Earth Friendly Oil Changes

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Action-adventure-may15-header 

All new for May 15, 2011 - Our new issue sets its sights on for green-minded travelers, how earth-friendly is your oil change, 5 frugal tips for living green, and how to plan an action adventure vacation while treading lightly on mother earth. Visit EWP's Partner Website - Road & Travel Magazine now!!!

05/02/2011

Top 10 Green Cars of 2011

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49112-lo-2012_ford_focus
The roads are getting greener every day, but it’s not just advanced electric cars and hybrids that are making a mark. Conventional gas engines, equipped with efficiency-inducing technologies are offering ultra economical rides at a fraction of the cost, as illustrated in this year’s “Top 10 Green Cars” list, compiled by Kelley Blue Book. Earning mileage that passes 40-miles-per-gallon, there’s no reason for today’s car shoppers can’t be earth-friendly… at the pump.


Who made this year’s list for leading green vehicles? 

2012 Ford Focus – 31 average mpg 
Admirable fuel economy from a very well-priced entry-level car, with just enough gadgetry to impress techy drivers.
2012 Fiat 500 – 33 average mpg
This mini mobile has been a stranger to the U.S. market for nearly 30 years, but we’re welcoming it back with open arms.
2011 Hyundai Elantra – 33 average mpg

The stylish silhouette of this four-door make it a fashion-friendly option for compact car buyers nationwide.
2011 Volkswagen Golf TDI – 34 average mpg
A diesel engine makes this sporty hatchback stand out among the crowd. To top, it’s VW heritage promises a fun driving experience every time. 
2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid – 39 average mpg
Easily up the ante from ho-hum sedan to sustainable chic by parking a Fusion Hybrid in your driveway. 
2011 Honda Insight – 41 average mpg
A well-rounded sedan that’s both earth- and wallet-friendly… what more could you ask for?
2011 Lexus CT 200h – 42 average mpg
Luxury and efficiency blend in this roomy vehicle that’s ideal for soccer moms and dads alike.
2011 Chevy Volt – 93 average mpg
Uber mileage without the range anxiety makes Chevy’s new Volt an electrifyingly easy option for all drivers.
2011 Nissan Leaf – 99 average mpg
Topping the charts, the Leaf serves as the first true, mass-market EV, offering nearly 100 mpg. 

(Source: KBB)

04/13/2011

Back Issues Available of EWP & RTM

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Back-issues 

Did you know that our partner Road & Travel Magazine has been publishing since 1989? Among the hundreds of issues and thousands of articles published many have been dedicated strictly to environmental topics. There, in RTM's back issue section, articles have been archived back as far as 2001. Please feel free to search our back issue archives to find additional resources and articles on earth-friendly topics.

Did you know that Road & Travel Magazine was the first publication to give an award for the most environmental friendly car of the year? In 1997, RTM produced and hosted an auto awards show in Detroit which honored the GM - EV1 as the vehicle that was 'Most Likely to Change the World.'

The Earth-Friendly Award continued for several years but sadly there were so few competitors back then that we discontinued the award until more automakers joined the party. By 2009, most car companies had introduced various forms of eco-friendly vehicles from hybrid to diesel to now electric. As a result of their progress, we launched the Earth, Wind & Power Awards, which are dedicated to clean car technology. Stay tuned as we continue to expand the EWP Awards down the road.

Also visit the RTM Blog!

Please feel free to share EWP and RTM content with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. We welcome and appreciate your support.

04/06/2011

Planet Driven - Green Tips on Car Buying & Care

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Planet-driven
With so many choices in hybrid, diesel and electric vehicles today, making a decision on which one is best for you and your family is daunting at best. There are so many things to consider when making your transformation from a gas-powered world to a green-powered planet. You want to do the right thing. You want to buy the right products. And you're doing your best to recycle everything in sight. But what about all the things related to buying a new car, a more earth friendly used car, or even what oil is best for the planet? After all, these are not things you do everyday like recycling. They are purchases and choices and decisions that most people make only once or twice a year. So, let us help.

Road & Travel Magazine (RTM) is a website that is partnered with the Earth, Wind & Power Blog. The goal of the partnership is to share content with RTM's auto and travel environmental sections, one of which is Planet Driven, which offers dozens of earth friendly articles with tips and advice on all things automotive. So have a look and as always we welcome your comments, suggestions and support. Even guest bloggers!

Earth is our only home... so let's clean it up! Please share RTM and EWP content with your friends on Facebook and Twitter so that together we'll become an unstoppable force for good for a Planet Driven by our will to survive and thrive. [PLANET DRIVEN]

 

06/22/2010

Going Green at the Car Wash

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Brought to you by International Carwash Association

Car wash While drivers are becoming more environmentally conscious by purchasing hybrid vehicles, many may not be aware that washing those automobiles at professional car washes also positively impacts the environment.

Environmental Partners, Inc., Issaquah, Seattle, conducted two tests to measure the potential impact of untreated car wash discharges into the storm water system (and thereby to streams and lakes) using fish mortality as a measure.

In the independent study, underwritten by Vic Odermat, a lifelong environmentalist and owner of Brown Bear Carwash, Seattle, Washington, fish toxicity tests were performed using a water runoff sample collected from a fundraising car wash event held in a parking lot and compared against a simulated run-off sample that was potable. The car wash runoff sample caused 100 percent mortality of fish in all dilution steps tested, while all the fish survived in the potable water. Detergents, including those that are biodegradable, can be harmful to fish by destroying their protective mucus membranes. In addition, detergents can damage fish gills and wash away natural oils that help fish absorb oxygen.

“I hope this study empowers citizens to be more informed about how small acts, such as visiting professional car washes, can really make a difference on the environment,” said Vic Odermat.

Detergents and surface residue from driveway or parking lot car washes generally runs directly into the nearest storm drain. Most storm drains are designed to carry excess rainwater into nearby waterways without any additional cleaning of that water. Storm water run off is the most common source of pollution of streams, rivers, lakes, oceans and inlets, and can have a devastating effect on aquatic life.

Under the federal Clean Water Act, a commercial car wash cannot send their dirty water into storm drains. The water must be discharged into a separate sanitary sewer or treated and recycled. Professional car washes also use less than one tenth of one percent of the water used by a municipality daily.

“As the year progresses and temperatures dip lower, drivers will need their cars washed more often because mud, road grime and salt are more likely to accumulate on their vehicles,” said Mark Thorsby, International Carwash Association Executive Director. “By using professional car washes, drivers can maintain clean cars and help the environment.”

Visit www.carwash.org for more information on the professional car wash industry and for additional green car wash tips.

For more earth friendly automotive tips from Road & Travel Magazine, visit our Planet Driven section.