October 30, 2012

Cool Planet: Renewable gasoline at $1.50 per gallon

Green Car Congress explains:

Cool Planet's biofuel has already been successfully tested internally at its headquarters in Camarillo, CA and through a field trial by Google Inc. at their Mountain View, CA headquarters, with an OnDemand campus vehicle, known as GRide, which has operated seamlessly using this fuel for more than 2,400 miles.

By running on a 5% Cool Planet carbon negative fuel blended with 95% regular gasoline, the test car blend met California's 2020 Low Carbon Fuel Standard--eight years ahead of schedule. The control car used 100% regular gasoline. The test car successfully passed 5 smog checks with no significant difference between cars. The total mileage of the test car was virtually the same as the control car, driving a total of 2,490 stop & go miles in the test car compared with 2,514 miles in the control car. Additionally, both the test car and the control car were virtually identical in emissions testing.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 11, 2012

2012: 1 car for every 7 people on Earth

We all know that passenger vehicles are one of the largest greenhouse gas contributors. As we push for electric and hybrid vehicles, as well as increased fuel economy, the rise in the number of cars globally is increasing dramatically.

According to the Worldwatch Institute:

Rising sales translate into ever-expanding fleets. An estimated 691 million passenger cars were on the world's roads in 2011. When both light- and heavy-duty trucks are included, the number rises to 979 million vehicles, which was 30 million more than just a year earlier. By the end of 2012, the global fleet could top 1 billion vehicles----one for every seven people on the planet.

Electric vehicle (EV) production remains at barely perceptible levels. Although several countries have issued targets for future EV fleets, it remains to be seen whether these goals can be met. China, for instance, wants to put 5 million plug-in hybrid-electric and fully electric vehicles on its roads by 2020----which could account for more than 40 percent of the global EV fleet that year. An analysis by Deutsche Bank Climate Advisors, however, suggests that production of 1.1 million EVs and a fleet of 3.5 million in China is a more realistic projection.

Unfortunately, of the 76.8 million passenger vehicles on the road in 2011 (not including light trucks), hybrid vehicles only account for 2% of all cars.

Image:  License

Attribution Some rights reserved by ernop
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January 24, 2012

Pong Smartphone and iPad Cases Protect Against Electromagnetic Radiation

Pong1.jpgWe all have heard about how radiation from cell phones and tablets is dangerous, especially for children. Healthy Child Healthy World writes:

Despite studies like the one published last week inElectromagnetic Biology and Medicine, which found kids' brains absorb twice as much cell phone radiation as adults, the FCC continues to insist that "currently no scientific evidence establishes a causal link between wireless device use and cancer or other illnesses," according to the websiteFair Warning...

Of course we're going to lag, when the cell phone industry fights any awareness tooth and nail. According to CBC News, after the city of San Francisco passed a requirement last week for cell phone retailers to warn customers about limiting their exposure to radiation, the trade group representing cell phone companies filed a lawsuit in federal court, citing the new law violates the companies' First Amendment Rights of freedom of speech.

Pong cases help protect you from radiation! We were sent the following two products:

Your cell phone emits a powerful form of microwave energy called electromagnetic radiation (EMR). Since the long term health effects of exposure to microwave EMR are unknown, most consumers desire to avoid unnecessary exposure.

Yet consumers also want a powerful cell phone with maximum signal strength reflected by the number of "bars" on their phones. Did you know that the signal stregnth of your phone is related to the magnitude or intensity of the EMR which it produces and receives? - The lower the signal strength, the greater the intensity of EMR emitted by your phone. Pong devices are uniquely designed to solve this dilemma for consumers.

Pong not only protects you from unnecessary exposure to EMR, but also optimizes your cell phone's signal strength.

These are very sturdy cases that fit well, and I feel better letting my children use our smart devices knowing that there is some radiation protection from Pong.

Disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

October 18, 2011

Can a Town Really Make Biking and Walking Illegal?

Walking and cycling are both good for your health and for the planet. Whenever the option presents itself, I chose either method of personal transportation over riding in a car.

Hull, Wisconsin believes cyclists and pedestrians are causing problems on some roads, so the city council is considering outlawing them! The Grist reports:

Hull wants to restrict some of its roads to vehicle-only traffic -- although if you log your daily run with the City Council they might consider making an exception:

A town public safety committee, which examined general safety on town roads this summer, came up with a draft ordinance in September that requires biking, running or walking groups to register their travel plans with the town or bans them from using roads outright.

The ordinance is in response to what town officials say is a growing problem with road safety, but local groups are concerned about the impact on biking and running in the town.

A more appropriate response would be to build bike lanes and sidewalks.

Image credit:  Attribution Some rights reserved by johntrainor
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

October 11, 2011

Virgin Atlantic Announces Plan to Use Industrial Waste for Jet Fuel

The western world is hooked on flying, yet air travel remains a large contributor of greenhouse gases and thus climate change. Biofuels have been tested, but Virgin Atlantic is developing a unique solution which will hopefully be more practical. Yale Environment 360 explains:

Virgin Atlantic Airways has announced plans to fly commercial routes using a waste-based, synthetic gas fuel that produces half the carbon emissions of the typical jet fuel. Using technologies developed by partners LanzaTech and Swedish Biofuels, Virgin says it will capture and chemically treat gas waste from industrial steel production facilities into an ethanol that can be be converted into jet fuel. The company plans to run test flights in New Zealand within the next 18 months and begin commercial operations in China by 2014.

Image credit: AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by Ingy The Wingy

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

August 18, 2011

Forget the Price of Gas: What Does it Really Cost to Drive Your Car?

I happened to notice that gas had dropped about 10 cents per gallon here in northern California. Of course, when we fill up the tank, we notice that the cost of driving is expensive; however, there are many more costs that contribute to our expensive driving habits such as insurance, water pollution, CO2, etc.

The True Cost of Driving helps you calculate the actual costs of driving your vehicle.

When considering the cost of driving, most people think only about how much they pay for gas. Drivers also pay to buy and maintain a car, including tune-ups, oil and tires, as well as for insurance, registration, and parking.

Indirect costs of driving, such as road construction and maintenance, add to drivers' financial burden through taxes and fees. In addition, there are quality of life costs that drivers and non-drivers alike pay to support automobile transportation. Though challenging to quantify, these added impacts include air pollution, traffic congestion, and health care.

Use this educational tool to calculate both your out-of-pocket Direct Driver's Expenses and the Indirect Costs of your driving habits. Once you consider the true cost of driving alone, other transportation options such as carpooling, vanpooling, riding the bus, walking, riding a bike or telecommuting may look more attractive.

My cost added up to $1.39 per mile or $19,473.30 a year. There are some assumptions and omitted items in this calculator, like variance in state taxes and fuel efficiency, but it definitely gives you an idea of the financial burden of our cars.

Via: MNN

Image:  Attribution Some rights reserved by

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

June 27, 2011

Grown in the USA Bio-Based Synthetic Green Motor Oil by G Oil

Cars are a problem when it comes to the environment. Although gas mileage is slowly improving with newer motels, automobiles still require lubrication. Green Earth Technologies G-Oil 5W-30 Green Motor Oil is one solution that can reduce our dependence on foreign oil. This synthetic motor oil is grown and made in the USA.

Change your oil, change the world with Environment Safe, ULTIMATE BIODEGRADABLE* G-OIL® GREEN Motor Oil, the world's first and only American Petroleum Institute's (API) "SM" Certified bio-based motor oil. We blend nature's American grown base oils (domestically sourced beef tallow) with nanotechnology to provide superior performance protection during the maximum oil change intervals recommended by vehicle manufactures while meeting or exceeding requirements.

Our bio base-synthetic G-OIL is the GREEN SOLUTION for gasoline engines, providing better protection for automotive engines under the toughest driving conditions NATURALLY BETTER THAN SYNTHETICS.

I am not a mechanic, so I cannot speak to the claims of being better for your car under tough driving conditions.

I find it interesting the oil is made from beef tallow. I wonder if this is a byproduct of the meat industry. Tallow is a rendered fat. According to Wikipedia:

Tallow is used in animal feed, to make soap, shoe polish, for cooking, and as a bird food. It can be used as a raw material for the production of biodiesel and other oleochemicals. Historically, it was used to make tallow candles, which were a cheaper alternative to wax candles.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

December 3, 2010

Streetcars Make a Come Back and Put Americans Back to Work

Screen shot 2010-11-27 at 10.22.17 AM.png
Once upon a time, every major American city had streetcars. As American's love of the automobile blossomed and families moved to suburbs, cities pulled up streetcar tracks to make room for cars. Fortunately, streetcars are making a comeback, and one American company is leading the way.

The Apollo Alliance has identified United Streetcar, the only manufacturer of modern streetcars in the United States, as a having the "Right Stuff":

Chandra Brown, the president of United Streetcar, literally brought back the streetcar industry to the United States after a hiatus of more than 58 years. Streetcars are now being made in America again, by union workers, and are providing a clean transportation alternative to automobiles in more and more U.S. cities. United Streetcar exceeds federal "Buy America" requirements, with 70 percent of component parts coming from more than 20 different states. At the Monday night event, Brown said that her company is competing against European companies for a contract to build streetcars for Washington, DC, and that there is currently no incentive for our nation's capital to select a company that employs American workers.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

October 5, 2010

Campus Cycling: Michigan State Sells Cheaper Bikes to Students and Staff

bike rack snow ann arbor.jpg
The best way to get around any college campus is to cycle. Students and staff that bike to class can park right in front of buildings saving time and money.

Michigan State University (MSU) and Fuji bikes have partnered to encourage more cycling on campus by offering discounts to students and staff. Treehugger explains:

So it's with some excitement that MSU has joined Fuji University, a program that allows students, faculty and staff to buy new Fuji bikes at a discount. Oh, and there's also a university-owned and -operated bike shop to go along with it.

MSU is the only university in the Midwest, and one of only five in the nation, that belongs to Fuji University. Campus officials say they hope the partnership will keep more people (and greenhouse gases) off the roads, and make for healthier students.

Of course, students can buy a cheaper, used bicycle for their commute to and from class, but it is nice that Fuji and MSU are giving them a chance to buy a quality bike at a discount. Now all students and staff need are spartan helmets to accompany their bikes!

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

August 26, 2010

Whiskey By-Products Could Power Cars in Scotland

Biofuels have been criticized for taking away agricultural food production land, but Scottish researchers have found one solution using the by-products of whiskey. Care2 reports:
Scotland produces large quantities of whisky, enough that there are 1,600 million liters of pot ale and 187,000 tons of draff left over. These waste products can now be used to create biobutanol, which is said to produce 30 percent more power than ethanol. The university has filed a patent for the new biofuel and envisions a commercial operation to produce and sell it. Biobutanol can be used in ordinary cars, and requires no adaptions. The plan is to have the new biofuel available at petrol pumps already in use. Presumably it would be blended with conventional petroleum fuel to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. It could also be offered in a pure form.

Image:  Attribution Some rights reserved by duluoz cats

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August 20, 2010

Improve Your Fuel Efficiency with the Lemur Vehicle Monitor Keychain

Ever wonder what your car's real gas mileage is or how much fuel you waste by idling? Lemur Vehicle Monitors LMED-001 EconoDriver Wireless Vehicle Monitor can give you those answers and more from your keychain.

Lemur Vehicle Monitors EconoDriver is a wireless vehicle monitor that provides real-time driving feedback to help drivers save money spent on fuel. Reports cost per trip in dollars and cents. Reports distance traveled. Reports wasted fuel in dollars and cents. Provides a green rating based on your style of driving, the more leaves you get the better driver you are. Also displays your fuel economy in miles per dollar so you know how far you can drive on one dollar. Plus more cool features. Simple self install. Plug and play on any vehicle made since 1996.

I have not personally tried this gadget, but it sounds really cool. You could learn a lot from your keychain that could change your driving habits to be more fuel efficient...just don't get into an accident because you are staring at it!

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

March 9, 2010

Peugeot Diesel Gets 75 MPG Across Europe


To see if regular drivers could replicate mileage claims by Peugeot, the car company hosted a Paris to Geneva Eco Cup.  Using regular diesel models, drivers got an impressive mileage, even with larger models.  Autobloggreen explains:

Over the course of the two-day, 622-mile drive, the competitors put up some pretty impressive numbers. The top overall result came in a C-segment 308 hatchback with an overall average of 74.9 miles per gallon (U.S.). Next up was the smaller 207 HDi 90 with 72.5 mpg. Particularly impressive were the 5008 MPV with 70.6 mpg and the new 3008 crossover with 65.9 mpg. Part of the competition included a prescribed time window based on the speed limits along the route to make sure that drivers didn't simply drive at excessively slow speeds.
Too bad these efficient models are not available in the US.  As Peugeot states, "This is a great reminder that, in this dynamic and technology-obsessed industry, genuine environmentally friendly motoring is available for the masses right now." 

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

January 7, 2010

Burlington, Vermont Airpot Gets Solar and Wind Power

The airline industry is often targeted for its excessive greenhouse gas emissions, Vermont is trying to make one of its airports more eco-friendly. Heritage Aviation at Burlington International has installed its first wind turbine and 120 solar panels. UPI reports:

"We're proud to be on the leading edge of energy efficiency, corporate responsibility and environmental stewardship, in our region and in the aviation industry," said Christopher Hill, president of Heritage Aviation.

Heritage Aviation is the sole fixed base operator at Burlington International Airport. Hangars and other facilities at the airport include rainwater collection systems and one of the largest so-called green roofs in New England.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

August 31, 2009

Thanks to Government Policy, Ethanol Grows from 1% to 7% of Fuel Supply in 8 Years

Many experts agree ethanol is not the answer. From the overuse of antibiotics to the heavy water footprint, ethanol has come under scrutiny from everyone except policymakers. Thanks to Congress and state governments, ethanol has risen from 1% to now 7% of the fuel supply in the United States.

The Cattle Network reports on the future of ethanol:

In 8 short years, ethanol grew from 1% of the fuel supply to 7% with the help of numerous policy decisions by Congress and state governments. While that was happening, the amount of corn used for ethanol production climbed from 6% to 24% and will level off in the next decade at 30-35%. While most row crop farmers say they are willing to meet that demand, the technical goal is to reach 36 billion gallons of ethanol available for the motor fuel supply by 2022. That includes both corn-based ethanol and biomass-based or cellulosic ethanol. Westcott says the mandate "would require significant expansion of biofuel production and use from current U.S. levels. However, major challenges in both supply and demand may limit future growth in the industry."

Challenges facing the ethanol industry includes the limitations of flex fuel cars on the market and gas stations featuring gasoline with high ethanol content. Furthermore, acceptance of ethanol by consumers provides additional challenges, especially considering the common belief that ethanol production is impacting food production and prices.

Ethanol is also criticized for its detrimental effects on South America. The Cattle Network continues:

Lurking on the horizon is the federal policy that allows states to be flexible in their requirements for motor fuel, and California's Air Resources Board has taken a dim view of ethanol, by alleging it causes the loss of soil carbon in South America. In brief, ethanol critics say is pushes corn production up, soybean production down, and the result is more tillage for Brazilian soybean fields.

Despite the negatives, ethanol is still touted as the "as the prime alternative to hydrocarbon fuels".

Image: Kables on Flickr under a Creative Commons License

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