October 21st, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) are holding public hearings this week on the country’s first greenhouse gas emissions limits for passenger vehicles.
Hearings began today in Detroit and will continue in New York City on Friday and Los Angeles on Tuesday. You can thank President Obama for pushing this environmental agenda, in concert with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, automakers, the United Auto Workers Union and eco-conscious organizations.
According to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), passenger cars and light trucks emit “nearly 20% of the nation’s greenhouse gases, in the form of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and hydrofluorocarbons. In April, EPA provisionally found that these four contaminants and two other greenhouse gases endanger human health and welfare.”
The proposed standards would apply to new cars produced from 2012 to 2016. The EDF cites the following benefits:
- Breaking Our Oil Addiction and Strengthening National Security. The vehicles subject to the proposed standards are responsible for about 40% of all U.S. oil consumption. The standards would reduce our oil consumption by 1.8 billion barrels, while achieving a 5% annual improvement in fuel efficiency for U.S. passenger cars.
- Reducing Global-Warming Pollution. Vehicles covered by the proposed standards account for 60% of heat-trapping emissions from the transportation sector and about 20% of all U.S. heat-trapping gases. These emissions have increased by more than 1% annually. The proposal would cut carbon dioxide pollution from passenger vehicles approximately 21% by 2030, reducing emissions by 950 million tons.
- Saving Money at the Pump. Families can save more than $3,000 over a vehicle’s lifetime.
Read More:Feds Hold Public Hearings on Auto Emissions Limits
April 28th, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
The other week, I went to the 2009 New York Internal Car Show in New York City. Now, I’m not much of a car guy, but here’s the skinny on four brand new eco-friendly automobiles:
- Top left: 2010 Ford Fiesta, compact and fuel efficient, originally debuted in Europe, now available in the United States.
- Bottom left: Dodge Circuit EV Concept, modeled after the Lotus Elise, is the test car for completely electric motor technologies.
- Top right: Kia Borrego FCEV, utilizes a hydrogen fuel cell and has a range of 426 miles!
- Bottom right: Cadillac Converj, made by General Motors has a big solar panel on the roof.
I have to admit, what I know about cars could fit in a thimble. So big ups to my brother for explaining what the heck I was taking pictures of.
Read More:New Eco-Cars Coming Our Way…
January 14th, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
Aside from sexy coconut bras, coconut husks are basically useless. And in developing countries, they can be dangerous.
After the meat is harvested, discarded shells can collect water, making them prime breeding grounds for malaria carrying mosquitoes.
But researchers at Baylor University have come up with a solution. Convert the woody husks into a material that can used to make car parts.
Now, the process isn’t totally green. The coconut shells are blended with polypropylene, a thermoplastic polymer, and after being hot-pressed, the substance becomes strong and durable enough to be used as trunk-liners, floorboards and car-door covers.
No doubt, this is a step, albeit a baby step, towards more sustainable automobile manufacturing, but it could become invaluable to small farmers. Coconut husks would go from garbage to a profit generating commodity, boosting farmers’ bottom line.
Actually, German researchers have already figured out how to make wood into plastic!
Read More:Coconut Husks Make Good Car Parts
April 28th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
I didn’t develop allergies until I was in my 40s, but breathing Southern California’s less-than-stellar air and inhaling pollen seem to have finally caught up with me. I was surprised to learn that allergic reactions inside a car can be more severe than those experienced in the home or workplace. The culprit? Less air volume.
Spilling a cup of coffee or food in your car and failing to clean it up properly can produce mold spores and bacteria. Clean up after every spill, and keep surfaces dry—especially carpets and cup holders. Keep a box of organic disinfecting wipes handy (the ones for yoga mats work great), and regularly wipe off the dashboard, steering wheel and cup holders.
Cabin air filters, a feature found on most vehicles, can also keep pollutants out of your car, according to experts at General Motors. They’re located on the intake side of the air-conditioning system, and they can extract pollen, soot and dust, preventing them from entering your vehicle. Check with your car’s manufacturer to see how often you should change the filter to keep air clean.
Photo courtesy of General Motors
Read More:Organic Living: How Clean Is Your Car’s Interior?