January 31, 2008

Entire Safeway Truck Fleet Converted to Biodiesel

Remember the old Safeway jingle "Everything you want from a store and a little bit more"? Now that little bit more is biodieselAccording to Lohas,
The biodiesel initiative makes Safeway one of the first major retailers in the United States to convert its entire fleet of more than 1,000 trucks to cleaner-burning biodiesel fuel. The decision by Safeway will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 75 million pounds annually, the equivalent of taking nearly 7,500 passenger vehicles off the road each year.

Besides biodiesel, Safeway actually has quite a few green practices in its operation. The company purchases 87,000 megawatts annually of wind power, is converting 24 California stores to solar energy, recycles 500,000 tons a year, and is part of the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX)

MSNBC: Safeway tests biodiesel at the pump

Lohas: Safeway's California and U.S. Truck Fleet Goes
San Francisco's Business Times: Safeway's biodiesel initiative won't fuel higher grocery prices

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

January 30, 2008

Dr. Hauschka Cleansing Milk

Dr. Hauschka Cleansing Milk is an amazing beauty product! This gentle cleanser is made from plant oils that leave the skin feeling soft and healthy. Soothing jojoba ,almond, and rice germ oils combine with anthyllis extract to nourish your skin. Fermented grain extracts and vitamin B strengthen and fortify your skin, while gently removing impurities and dirt from your face. Dr. Hauschka Cleansing Milk is perfect for all skin types! All ingredients are GMO-free and biodynamically grown. Dr. Hauschka products are truly natural:
The BDIH is a federal association of German manufacturers of drugs, supplements, cosmetics and personal care products whose "Guidelines for Natural" are the most selective in the world. Dr.Hauschka's line of holistic skin care is 100% Certified Natural by the BDIH, and we're proud to display their "Certified Natural Cosmetic" seal on our product packaging.

A friend of mine calls Dr. Hauschka products "crack for eco-chicks", as once you try them, you are hooked for life. Even Tony Soprano gave his mistress Dr. Hauschka products as an apology. In contrast to Tony Soprano's ethics, Dr. Hauschka is an inspiring natural beauty company:

Dr.Hauschka Skin Care is a different kind of company. Inspired by our vision of a culture of care, we've created a company not driven by greed but powered by compassion. All we do is in the interest of fostering well-being in the world, from our ecologically sound methods of growing and sourcing ingredients to our one-of-a-kind manufacturing processes and international fair trade initiatives.

You can look forward to more reviews of Dr. Hauschka products on Really Natural in the future!!!

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January 29, 2008

Virgin's Climate Change Fund

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Are you looking for a green investment for your greenbacks? Virgin Money has just introduced the Climate Change Fund:
An environmental fund with a difference, investing in businesses who are driving outstanding profit growth and are environmental leaders in their industry.

Unlike most green funds, we can invest in oil, transport, and every other sector, cherry-picking the environmental leaders in each who can offer the highest returns.

This fund predominately invests in Europe and promises to invest 75%-100% in lighter footprint companies, up to 15 % in solution adopters, and up to 10% in solution providers. The minimum investment is £50 (about $99) monthly or a lump sum of £500 (about $989). According to Sir Richard Branson,
Climate change is an issue which affects us all. Consumers are changing the way they spend and are increasingly looking for more environmentally friendly ways of investing their money too. I’m delighted to be teaming up with GLG Partners in offering the Virgin Climate Change Fund and look forward to delivering our investors excellent performance without it costing the Earth.

Want to know more?

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January 28, 2008

Maggie's Functional Organic Tights

I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more. No, I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more... Well, maybe I would work on Maggie's farm if she grew organic cotton, which is similar to the story behind Maggie's Functional Organics:
Believe it or not, the idea for Maggie's Organics began with an Organic Tortilla chip. We were in the food business, busy selling both blue and yellow corn tortilla chips, when one of our farmers recommended adding cotton to the crop rotation to improve the quality of the corn. His experiment worked. However, his cotton yielded a crop and we were expected to sell it! (Maggiesorganics.com)
Founded in 1992, Maggie's is one of the first companies to offer US consumers affordable, organically grown cotton clothing.

Maggie's Functional Organics make the best organic, fair trade cotton tights! These tights contain 73% certified organic Peruvian cotton, 22% nylon, 3% lycra, and 2% rubber. I lived in these tights when I was pregnant, and I recently bought another pair.

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January 25, 2008

Eco Food Friday: Sucanat Organic Sweetener

I use organic Sucanat , which stands for Sugar Cane Natural, for all my baking needs. Sucanat is Fair Trade certified from Costa Rica. It is made by crushing sugar cane, extracting and heating the juice, and then hand paddling the juice until it dries into porous granules. Unlike refined sugars, Sucanat retains many vitamins and minerals present in sugar cane, such as iron, calcium, vitamin B6, potassium, and chromium. You can use Sucanat in a 1:1 ratio, as you would any other granulated sugar. Not only is Sucanat better for your body than refined white sugar, the flavor will enhance all of your baking!
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January 24, 2008

World's Largest Children's Publisher Goes Green

I've criticized Scholastic in the past for contributing to the sexualization of young girls, by marketing Bratz in schools through their book fairs and book clubs. I have also been sorely disappointed in the quality of books in the Scholastic book orders my daughter brings home from school. Now, Scholastic has released an environmental policy, created in collaboration with the Green Press Initiative, the Rainforest Alliance, and the National Wildlife Federation, that somewhat redeems the company in my opinion. The policy's goal is to increase Scholastic's use of recycled paper to 25% and increase the use of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper to 30% by 2012.

The new Scholastic environmental policy comes on the heals of last summer's release of an eco-friendly version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It was the largest-ever purchase of FSC-certified paper to be used in a single book printing. Scholastic's new paper policy

..will conserve the annual equivalent of nearly 500,000 trees, nearly 160 million pounds of greenhouse gases (enough to pull 6,700 cars off the road), and enough energy to power over 4,000 homes each year when compared to paper with produced with no recycled fiber. [based on Environmental Defense's Paper Calculator]

In addition to the new environmental policy, Scholastic has developed an Act Green website for children. There are Green Tools for kids, which amount to a desktop "Greenerator", door tags, and stickies to be printed that remind children to recycle, ride their bicycles, turn off light switches, etc. The website also promotes "100 Ways to Act Green", such as using a clothesline to dry laundry. In addition, children can post a green idea in the Green Room.

I think it is very important to educate children about the environment, and I applaud Scholastic's efforts. Similar to the way anti-tobacco programs in schools cause children to pressure their parents to stop smoking, perhaps such programs can use children to pressure their parents to live a greener lifestyle. I also think the publishing company's new paper policy is a start, but I wish the goals were higher for the use of recycled paper. 25% is not a very large percentage, even if 75% of it will be post-consumer waste.

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January 23, 2008

Clorox Greenworks: Greenwashing or Green Cleaning?

After deciding not to add the Clorox name to Burt's Bees, for fear it would cause distrust amongst eco-shoppers, the company has just released a new line of "green" cleaning products. Clorox Greenworks, is the first line of greener cleaning products to be launched by a major manufacturer. According to Beth Springer, vice president for strategy and growth at Clorox, Greenworks bears the Clorox name because:
We spent a lot of time talking with consumers who wanted to keep their homes clean and healthy but wanted more natural alternatives,” Ms. Springer says. “And they confessed in most cases they were disappointed with having to pay more for products that didn’t work. So we concluded that we would initially bring it out with the Clorox brand name endorsing it because it gave people a belief in its efficacy.
The Clorox name may appeal to the mainstream consumer, but what about the eco-shoppers? The Sierra Club will be endorsing Greenworks products with its logo this spring. Clorox Greenworks products are at least 99 % natural and feature the following products:

GreenWorks Natural All-Purpose Cleaner

GreenWorks Natural Glass & Surface Cleaner

GreenWorks Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner

GreenWorks Natural Dilutable Cleaner

GreenWorks Natural Bathroom Cleaner

The goal is to move green cleaning into the mainstream. Clorox Greenworks products are biodegradable, non-toxic, plant-based, non animal-tested, non-allergenic, have full ingredient transparency, and made with recyclable packaging.

Read more at:
Treehugger- specific information about the Greenworks "natural" ingredients
Eco Child's Play-how Clorox has benefited from the FDA's decision not to clearly define "natural"
Lohas and the Sierra Club-the partnership between the Sierra Club and Clorox

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January 22, 2008

Extreme Hybrid Gets 150 MPG!

Here it is...the amazing, plug-in, Extreme Hybrid SUV! At over 150 miles to the gallon, this machine puts the plug-in hybrid Toyota Prius to shame. The Extreme Hybrid XH by AFS Trinity Power will travel 40 miles on the electric motor, before it needs recharged electrically or the gasoline motor starts. The Toyota plug-in Prius will only travel seven miles on its stored electricity.

The Extreme Hybrid SUV (Saturn Vue pictured above) is considered a triple hybrid. Ultracapacitors are combined with batteries and a gas engine. According to the New York Times,

Typically, hybrids exploit the synergies of electricity and internal combustion by using only an electric motor at low speeds; the gas engine kicks in as speed increases, and both are used when maximum output is called for. AFS Trinity, on the other hand, took a purist position. In its system, the gasoline engine is not started until the batteries run down...In use, the capacitors function much like the water tank on a toilet. That reservoir lets the toilet get by with a small supply pipe, yet still delivers a large volume at once for flushing.

The Extreme Hybrid XH is expected to cost about $8,700 more than a gas-only SUV. AFS Trinity CEO Edward W. Furia explains, "If the price of gasoline is, say, $2.85 per gallon, XH™ gasoline cost savings could repay the purchase price premium in 3.5 years." Increased fuel economy does come at a cost though, as capacitors contain PCBs, in a closed system. However, the ultracapacitors in the Extreme Hybrid help keep the lithium batteries within safe heating limits, thus extending battery life and preventing fire caused by overheating. The earliest the Extreme Hybrids will be available is in three years.

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January 21, 2008

PVC-Free, Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat

Does your yoga mat contain PVC? There's nothing like yoga for the body and soul, but your yoga mat could be toxic. Most yoga mats contain PVC. PVC has been called the "Poison Plastic". According to the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice,
PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic, commonly referred to as vinyl, is one of the most hazardous consumer products ever created. PVC is dangerous to human health and the environment throughout its entire life cycle, at the factory, in our homes, and in the trash. Our bodies are contaminated with poisonous chemicals released during the PVC lifecycle, such as mercury, dioxins, and phthalates, which may pose irreversible life-long health threats.

The Harmony Natural Rubber Yoga Mat is PVC-free, as well as made from natural rubber. Not only are these mats all natural, they provide a slip-resistant surface for your yoga practice. Like any new yoga mat, this product may have a slight rubber smell that will go away with time. It is available in Sedona red, Tibetan orange, black, midnight blue, orchid, and olive green. The Harmony Natural Rubber Yoga Mat adds sustainability to your yoga practice. Other eco-friendly yoga mats are available from Drishti, Terra Pure, and Prana. Only the Harmony yoga mats are made from all natural materials.

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January 18, 2008

New Crispy Green Freeze Dried Pear Snacks

We've reviewed Crispy Green all natural, freeze dried fruit before. Now, Crispy Green has introduced Crispy Pears made from Asian pears. Crispy Green snacks are made from real fruit with zero fat and cholesterol. The snack packs are convenient and the taste is tangy and delicious.
A good snack maintains the delicate balance between taste and nutrition. Crispy Green's Crispy Pears and its Crispy Fruit product line provides the best of both worlds for anyone who wants a great tasting snack while maintaining a healthy lifestyle, says Angela Liu, President and Founder of Crispy Green. My daughter ate three packs of Crispy Pears as soon as they arrived in our home, and she begged me to include them in her lunch the following day.

Although I love the flavor and convenience of Crispy Green snacks, I do have some reservations about the product. First, these snacks are made in China. Crispy Green assures customers that the highest quality of fruit is used, but after the Veggie Booty recall, I am just a bit paranoid about food coming from China. Besides, it certainly doesn't help reduce one's carbon footprint by purchasing food from overseas. Secondly, Crispy Green snacks are not made from organically grown fruit. This is a serious drawback, in my opinion, for those wishing to live their lives more naturally.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

January 17, 2008

Expect the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid in 2010

Toyota has finally announced the long awaited arrival of the Prius Plug-In Hybrid will occur in 2010. The plug-in model will run on lithium-ion batteries, instead of the nickel-metal hydride batteries that currently power the Prius. Plug-in vehicles can be powered from an external power source, rather than always relying on the gas motor to recharge the batteries. If customers chose renewable energy sources for their power consumption, this is a good option for reducing one's carbon footprint. One cool feature of the new Plug-In Prius is an EV button inside the car. Drivers can press this button and run the car completely on the batteries as an electric car; however, the two batteries will only take you about seven miles. Still no date on when Toyota will release diesel versions of their trucks.

Via Metaefficient

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January 16, 2008

Got Aches and Pains? Use Natural Arnica Gel for Relief

Arniflora Arnica Gel is a homeopathic remedy for aches and pains. If you are not familiar with the principles of homeopathy, homeopathic treatment involves giving extremely small doses of natural substances that mimic the symptoms of the same illness in healthy people when given in larger doses. The idea is that “like cures like.” Arniflora contains an 8% tincture of arnica montana, which has been used for centuries to relieve pain. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center,
Arnica ( Arnica montana) has been used for medicinal purposes since the 1500s and remains popular today. Applied topically as a cream, ointment, liniment, salve, or tincture, arnica has been used by both Europeans and Native Americans to soothe muscle aches, reduce inflammation, and heal wounds.
This little yellow flower is a lifesaver when backpacking or when suffering from an injury, such as a sprained ankle or broken bone. Arniflora Arnica Gel works quickly and naturally to relieve aches and pains. This natural product is definitely one to keep stocked in your medicine chest at all times.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

January 15, 2008

Macbook Air - The Eco Friendly Green Mac Laptop

It's nice to see apple actually think through a product from the circuit board to the packaging. The Macbook Air features an Aluminum case, and a mercury-free and arsenic-free glass display. The circuit boards are BFR free and PVC free, and best of all the packaging has 56% less volume than the regular MacBook. Not too shabby. .

At Macbook Air via Gizmodo

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Eco TV Uses the Same Amount of Power as an Incandescent Light Bulb

I live off-the-grid, where every watt of power usage counts. For months, I have used this excuse to prevent my husband from buying a flat panel TV. Starting in March, I won't be able to use this reason, as Phillips introduces the Eco TV.

The Eco TV has several features that reduce its power consumption to about 75 watts; that's about as much power as an incandescent light bulb and 30 watts less than other 42-inch LCD TVs. One such feature is the ability to dim the back light during dark scenes or in a dark room. There is also a power saving mode that limits peak light output. All of these features can be controlled by the user. Furthermore, when the Eco TV is on standby power (when you think it is turned off), the phantom power draw is 0.15 watt, among the lowest in the industry. The Eco TV is a 42-inch, 1080p resolution, flat-panel LCD, model that will sell for about $1,399.

The Eco TV comes in a box made from recycled materials. In addition, it is made from lead-free materials and contains only traces of mercury. Despite all the great power saving features of the Eco TV, I still think I need to wait until our current television dies before we make the jump to a LCD flat panel.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

January 14, 2008

Organic Cotton Swabs

You can find just about anything grown organically now, and cotton swabs are no exception. Organic Essentials Organic Cotton Swabs are totally biodegradable and compostable, and the packaging is made from recycled cardboard. Personally, I have difficulty finding these organic swabs in our local coop or health food store, as they are inconsistently stocked there. Ordering Organic Essentials Organic Cotton Swabs online is the only way I can be sure to always have them on stock. Of course, remember cotton swabs should not be placed in the ear canal!

Buying products made from organic cotton is not only important because of the amount of pesticides used in cotton production, but often cotton seeds are genetically modified. 50% of all of the cotton grown in the United States is genetically modified! Genetically modified cotton is resistant to the bollworm and increases production by 80%, but at what health or environmental cost? The truth is, we just don't know the potential long-term effects of GMO crops. According to Action Bioscience,

There is little scientific study about their health risks
Safety test technology is inadequate to assess potential harm
They can carry unpredictable toxins
They may increase the risk of allergenic reactions

It is better to be safe than sorry, so purchasing organically grown good whenever possible is the best choice. Smaller items, such as Organic Essentials Organic Cotton Swabs are often more affordable, and thus easier to incorporate into anyone's budget. Organic cotton is king!

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

January 11, 2008

Aloe Dream Mate Pillow by Natura


Where do you rest your head for 8-10 hours every day of your life? Your pillow, of course! Considering how much time we spend in close proximity snuggling with our pillow, it only makes sense that it be made of high quality, natural materials. Natura offers many natural sleep solutions, including the Aloe Dream Mate Pillow

The Aloe Dream Mate pillow consists of an aloe and cotton cover, Natura smart wool lining, and a granulated Talalay latex core. The aloe enriched cotton cover provides for better energy balance and nourishes your skin while you sleep. The smart wool lining regulates body temperature and controls humidity by absorbing moisture vapor and diffusing it back into the air. The natural, granulated Talalay latex replicates a "down-like" feel that is cuddly and conforms to your neck and body. All of these natural elements combine to provide you with longer periods of deep, undisturbed sleep.

The hypoallergenic Aloe Dream Mate Pillow is a great alternative to synthetic pillows that may contain PBDEs. PBDEs are flame retardant chemicals that are suspected to mimic estrogen. This chemical has been found in human breast milk, and the US has the highest documented levels of PBDEs in breast milk, blood, and body fat. Avoid PBDEs in your bed, and sleep safely on Natura's Aloe Dream Mate pillow.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

January 10, 2008

Burt's Bees Bleach?

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Burt's Bees natural beauty products began in 1984, when beekeeper Burt Shavitz picked up Roxanne Quimby hitchhiking in Dexter, Maine. The company grew from beeswax candles sold at crafts fairs to a full line of natural beauty products for adults and babies (click here for our review of Burt's Bees Citrus Facial Scrub). Now, Clorox has purchased the company for almost $1 billion. What will this do to Burt's Bees quality? Will Clorox go green?

Clorox plans to take Burt's Bees into big box stores and make it a mainstream American brand. Like other corporate buyouts of natural companies, such as Colgate-Palmolive purchasing Tom's of Maine, natural consumers are left wondering if this is another attempt at greenwashing by a major corporation. As the New York Times writes,

Many corporate leaders have sold their shareholders on green initiatives by pointing out that they help cut costs — an argument that is more persuasive now, while energy costs are sky high. But as companies rush to put out more and more “natural,” “organic” or “green” products, consumers and advocacy groups are increasingly questioning the meaning of these labels.

Burt's Bee's cofounder Roxanne Quimby has moved on since the sale and started an organic children's clothing company called Happy Green Bee (see Eco Child's Play). Happy Green Bee offers organic, fair trade, sustainably produced cotton clothing for infants and toddlers. Quimby has also purchased 100,000 acres of land to preserve, whereas cofounder Burt Shavitz is still living in his converted turkey coop without running water or electricity.

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January 9, 2008

Prana Organic Divine Pants

Prana clothing products have long been the favorite of climbers and outdoor enthusiasts. Comfort and durability are synonymous with the brand, and now organic cotton material and sustainable energy practices make the prAna Divine Organic Cotton Pant truly eco-friendly. Perfect for yoga or just lounging around, these pants truly live up to their name "Divine". They are made made from 90% organic cotton with 10% spandex for stretch. Not only are these pants made from organic cotton, but they are manufactured using renewable wind energy. They also come with a lifetime warranty, so it is definitely worth the extra money to purchase these sustainable casual pants.

Wearing clothing made from organically grown fibers is just as important as eating organically grown food for our planet's health. 25% of all pesticide applications worldwide is used on cotton crops. Supporting organic farmers is vital, if we are going to move away from conventional agricultural practices that harm our environment and health.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

Is Prefab Really Natural or Really Fabulous?

Read more about prefab homes at Inhabit.

We think so. Instead of using tons of resources to build a house on site, you can easily build the majority of the house at a central location and save money and resources. We recommend prefab to anyone who has the time to research what it truly is in these modern times - oh wait - thank you New York Times.

The New York Times has an interesting article on just what Prefab even means in these modern times. The article covers the effort at the Museum of Modern Art. The museum has commissioned five architects to erect their own prefab dwellings in a vacant lot on West 53rd Street, adjacent to the museum. Whittled down from a pool of about 400, the five architects are participating in “Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling,” an exhibition opening in July.

We can't wait to see what response these dwellings will get, and we hope more people fall in line with prefab housing.

Read New York Times

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January 8, 2008

Save Power with the Belkin Conserve Surge Protector

We're hoping to see more of these power-strips that can have a set of outlets you can turn the power off to completely. Right now we are always unplugging our adaptors or shutting of the entire powerstrip. Belkin's Conserve Surge Protector, which can shut down six of its eight spaced outlets all at once with a giant remote on-off switch, will save you the problem of shutting down or unplugging each box one-by-one. Estimates are you'll save up to 20% on the power that strip uses.

Via DVICE at Belkin

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January 7, 2008

Monitor Your Power Usage with Kill-a-Watt Electricity Monitor

We're always wondering how much juice all those gadgets we have in the house are eathing up. With the Kill-A-Watt electricity usage monitor we can finally find out. Connect your appliances into the Kill A Watt, and assess how efficient they are. A large LCD display counts consumption by the Kilowatt-hour just like utility companies. You can figure out your electrical expenses by the hour, day, week, month, even an entire year.

At Monitor Your Power Usage with Kill-a-Watt Electricity Monitor

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January 4, 2008

Revolutionary Air Car Runs On Compressed Air

BBC News is reporting that a French company has developed a pollution-free car which runs on compressed air. That's right - you could fill your car up at the same place you fill the air in your tires! Well - maybe not entirely on the same thing. The air car, also known as the Mini-CAT or City Cat, can be refueled in minutes from an air compressor at specially equipped gas stations and can go 200 km on a 1.5 euro fill-up -- roughly 125 miles for $3. The top speed will be almost 70 mph and the cost of the vehicle as low as $7000.

Sign me up!

Via The Raw Story

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Old School Solar - Solar Scientific Calculator

What was old is young again...or new again - or at least eco-friendly and rechargeable. We give you the Casio FX-260 Solar Scientific Calculator. Your eco-friends will be green with envy as you do your math calculations carbon free, and solve the next riddle in eco-friendly math. All of this is assuming your the kind of geek that likes to do math in the outdoors - or near windows.

At Casio FX-260 Solar Scientific Calculator

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January 2, 2008

Hertz Going Green with Some Rental Cars

Seems like everyone is jumping on to the enviro-bandwagon, but it's nice to see a rental car company getting into the game. Hertz now has a new Green Collection consists of cars with "EPA Highway Fuel Efficiency rating of 28 Miles or more per gallon."

There are currently six cars in the Green Collection, each reservable by name:

  • Toyota Prius and Camry
  • Ford Fusion
  • Buick LaCrosse
  • Subaru Outback
  • Hyundai Sonata.

Although they're going green - they will still offer Hummers and other gas guzzlers in their rental car lineup.

Via The Truth About Cars at Hertz

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