Nissan Leaf Polar Bear Commercial

September 22, 2010 · Filed Under Automobiles, Green, Pop Culture

I recently saw a new commercial for the Nissan Leaf electric car that is expected to be released in the coming months.  The commercial involves a polar bear leaving the Arctic to give a man who has a Leaf a hug.  Take a look:

I found this video to be interesting and a metaphor for things to come.  The mascot of global warming, the polar bear, is giving an electric car owner a hug for switching to a more environmentally friendly option.

Though electricity is still largely generated through coal, I think the video is trying to make a point that this car is the first step in right direction.   We can begin rid our country from depending so much on oil and start plans on doing the same with coal.

What are your thoughts on the video?

Trip Planning Saves Gas, Time, and Money

June 30, 2010 · Filed Under Automobiles, Green

With thousands of gallons of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico on a daily basis, I’ve really started to consider the amount of gasoline that I consume every year.  I’m a New Yorker, so I use my legs and public transportation to get around during the week.  But I am also very guilty of frequently renting cars for long road trips to escape the city.

Road Trip

Photo by {link:http://www.flickr.com/photos/yvandermeer/3707697747/}Yuri van der Meer {/link}.

A great way of avoiding a hefty gasoline bill is to utilize alternative methods of transportation such as regional rail or bus systems for weekend vacations.  But when these alternatives are not available and a car is the only viable option, then consider extensive trip planning as a way to cut down on gas consumption and save time and money.

Common sense dictates that the shortest distance between two points will generally cost less, take less time, and use less gas.  So, plot out your trip in detail ahead of time if possible.  Print out a good roadmap before you leave so that you minimize the chances of getting lost.  If you think you might stop off at a particular store on your trip, then check out that store’s website for locations and then run the addresses through Google Maps or Mapquest to find the closest one to your route.  And, if a stop along your way offers public transportation options, consider using them.  Not only can these options sometimes save money, they can be great ways of experiencing a new city!

Telsa Motors Offering IPO

June 29, 2010 · Filed Under Automobiles, News

Tesla Motors

Photo by {link:http://www.flickr.com/photos/kk/4742228673/}kk+{/link}.

Tesla Motors, a rising electric car manufacturer, is offering its IPO on June 28th.  There is lots of buzz around the company who many consider to be a risky investment considering they have yet to turn a profit.

In the end, Tesla hopes that it can raise approximately $178 million,  with more funding possible from big time manufacturers like Toyota and Daimler.  This makes sense considering that Daimler is already using Tesla’s battery technology in all of it’s electric vehicles.

The company is hoping that the unveiling of their Model S in 2012 along with capital raised from this IPO will to take their operations to the next level.  Plans have already begun to manufacturer the car in Fremont plant with a price of around $50,000.

As I said earlier, this company is a risk, but could pay off big to stock holders who are willing to take on that risk.   I wish Tesla much luck and hope that they can help make the electric car a staple in the American home.

http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_15395752?nclick_check=1

The Benefits of Green IT

June 24, 2010 · Filed Under Quick Saving Tips, Technology

By switching over to Green IT solutions, companies are savings tons of money, reducing the amount of space need for servers and most importantly helping minimize their environmental impact.  Virtulization is a large part of that, but there are other solutions that businesses are implementing that helps green up their servers.

Many people get scared when people start talking overly technical, but Green IT doesn’t have to be  difficult to understand nor it’s benefits.  This video filmed by VMWare gives a great overview of some green IT solutions in plain English.

Many companies can implement many of the mentioned methods and save lots of money and reduce their environmental impact. The concept of reducing costs alone will entice any company into implementing these methods. Try proposing many of these ideas to your company, you might be surprised how receptive most companies are to changes like these.

Top Green Driving Tips

June 22, 2010 · Filed Under Automobiles, Save and Go Green

When most of us are driving, the main concern is not always conserving as much gas as possible.  We are just trying to get from point A to point B with no concern for the environment or our wallets.  But, if we incorporate several green driving tips, we can help cut back our gas consumption while lowering our gas bill.

Green Cars

Photo by {link:http://www.flickr.com/photos/mcaven/3867815284/}Michael Cavén{/link}.

Bike

Bike to Work Day has already passed, but it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be riding our bikes more often.  All those small trips to the grocery store or anywhere local are perfect times to ride your bike.  Sometimes longer trips to work can be difficult, but that shouldn’t discourage you.  Drive partially to work and ride your bike the remainder.  All that is required is to find a location where you can park the car for the day.

Riding your bike also has health benefits, which is pretty obvious.  But what’s even better is that you can get your entire family involved, especially the kids.  Also, since there is no gas required to ride your bike, I consider this one of the most eco-friendly options for travel.

It can be difficult to find a bike path, to ride on, but Google Maps has made it easy for us.  They have added Bike Directions to their existing Google Maps application.  This makes it extremely easy to find an easy route to take while riding your bike.

Carpooling

With so many cars on the road, there has to be a better way to reduce that number?  Well there is, it’s called carpooling.  I’m sure if you asked around your office, you would probably find at least one person that is in a fairly close proximity to where you live.  Yet so many people traveling to the same place travel individually, congesting our roads, costing them additional money for gas and generating more pollution.

There are many online resources available including Carpool Connection and Zebigo in which you can find people who are looking for others to carpool with.  The longer you live from work, the great benefit you get from carpooling.  Give it a shot and you will almost instantly see the savings as well as helping the environment.

Public Transit

Almost all major cities have a good public transit system that can get you to work without having to deal with heavy traffic.  I live nearby Washington DC and the traffic on our local beltway is always congested.  Luckily there is a good transit system that can take you to almost any part of the city without having to deal with that hectic traffic.

Taking public transit also helps alleviate having to find parking or paying tons of money to park everyday.  Whenever I used drive into the city, I always spend way too much time trying to find parking and frustrated with the entire situation.  That’s why I almost always take transit to avoid the hassle.

If public transit is available, check it out as it might save you a little time, frustration, money and even the environment.

Consistent Driving

Did you know that one of the biggest wastes of gas in our driving involves accelerating and braking?  According to FuelEconomy.gov, you can improve your gas mileage anywhere from 5-33%.  That could amount to a large savings on your gas bill each fill up, while cutting your gas consumption.

Some ways to keep your speed consistent include coasting your car whenever possible and using cruise control.   There is no reason to press the accelerator to the floor for each light nor skid when a red light comes up.  Just make sure to be consistent with your driving and don’t go to the extremes.

Slow Down

Driving faster on highways may make the driver slightly shorter, but it could be costing you.  For every 1 mph you go over 60 mpg, your mpg decreases and could be costing your approximately $0.05 per gallon of gas.  Considering that not many people follow the posted signs on highways, that could be as much as a $1 per gallon of gas by just slowing down.  Going faster is not always the solution to get somewhere faster.

Use Air Conditioning Wisely

It can be difficult to determine when and how long to allow it to run while driving.  What may surprise you that similar to a home programmable thermostat, running the air conditioning for shorter periods can help you actually reduce you gas consumption.  This means that blasting your air conditioning when you get into the car for a short period is actually better than turning it on a low setting and higher temperature.  This is due to the fact that the air conditioning fan requires very little energy to power.

Another confusing issue involving the car’s air conditioner is When to roll up the windows.  The general rule is the faster you drive, the better it is to roll up your windows and use the air conditioner instead.  Driving at low speeds and stopping often is one of the only situations in which turning off your air conditioner and keeping the windows rolled down is better for fuel efficiency.

Avoid Idling

Eliminating excessive vehicle idling can help drastically reduce the amount of emissions our cars emit along with save a little cash.  What most people do not realize is that for every two minutes that we allow our cars to idle is equivalent to driving it a mile.  That can really add up if you are sitting in heavy traffic or allowing your car to warm up during the winter months.

Whenever sitting in your car for any period of time, turn off the car and open up the windows.  Also, there is no reason that we need to allow our cars to idle during the winter months just to warm up our cars.  Modern cars do not need to be warmed up to begin driving.  It’s all about our comfort when we enter into the car than actually helping our cars run better.

Keep Your Tires Inflated

Making sure your car tires are fully inflated is an often overlooked way to help improve your gas mileage.  By maintaining the proper pressure in all of your tires, you can help eliminate a possible 3.3% lose in mpg.  Though not as large of an impact as the other tips I mentioned, it can help keep you safe as well.  Low tire pressure can increase your chances of getting into an accident, risking your health and potentially cost you thousands.

Remove Excess Weight

This is an obvious choice in order to help improve your mpg.  I often hear people mention this and makes complete sense.  You can expect to see a savings of around 2% for each 100lbs you reduce in your car.  This means that having more passengers in the car by carpooling greatly outweighs any lose of mpg due to the extra weight.

Though not a huge savings overall, there is no reason to drive around with extra weight. It’s easy to remove those extra items, especially the heavier they are.

It’s Not Just About the MPG

June 11, 2010 · Filed Under Automobiles, Green

I am beginning to learn this summer, as I look for a vehicle that is both family and eco-friendly, that it’s not just about the MPG.  I wish it were, as that would make my decision a little easier.  Although important, the overall fuel efficiency of any given vehicle is just one aspect of its green rating.  For instance, the U.S. EPA has created a Green Vehicle Guide (www.epa.gov/greenvehicles/select.htm) that rates each car and truck on a number of criteria, including air pollution and greenhouse gas scores.  Additionally, a vehicle can receive an EPA SmartWay or SmartWay Elite designation that can be earned by having both good air pollution and greenhouse gas scores (6 or better for SmartWay and 9 or better for SmartWay Elite). According the EPA website, SmartWay Elite Vehicles are said to be “superior environmental performers.”

Now, let’s see how the EPA Green Vehicle Guide works with a side-by-side comparison of three vehicles I am thinking about purchasing:

Honda Odyssey 6 cyl with FWD (2010)…

Air Pollution Score = 7 out of 10, Fuel Economy 17/25, Greenhouse Gas         Score = 5 out of 10.   The Odyssey just misses the SmartWay designation by 1 point.

Suburu Outback Wagon CVT with AWD (2010)…

Air Pollution Score = 6 out of 10, Fuel Economy 22/29, Greenhouse Gas        Score =7 out of 10, rated a SmartWay vehicle.

GMC Terrain 4 cyl with AWD (2010)….

Air Pollution Score = 7 out of 10, Fuel Economy 20/29, Greenhouse Gas       Score = 6 out of 10, rated a SmartWay vehicle.

This system is a great way to make sense out of a lot of conflicting information regarding what makes a vehicle green.  How does your vehicle fare?

Electric Car Incentives Only For Rich?

June 9, 2010 · Filed Under Automobiles, Green

I found an interesting article about the fact that he believes government subsidies for electric are only for the rich.

This statement does make sense in the early stages of selling electric cars.  The technology is still in its infancy and it’s main competition has been established for many decades.  So we need an incentive for consumers to begin buying these cars, especially after seeing the massive damage oil is having on our country. And who is going to be buying these cars?  Of course it will initially be those who have the money to spend on a car that is slightly more expensive and requires an electrical charge station in their homes.

Though this statement may be true, you can say the same thing about every major technology that has come our way.  Whether it be the origination of the automobile, computers, cell phones and many more.  All were originally owned by those who had more money, but expanded as the technology became cheaper.

This same logic will apply for Electric Vehicles as well.  As soon as battery technology becomes cheaper, manufacturers will be able to produce cars at competitive prices(if not lower) with traditional gas vehicles.  If that takes some initial incentives by the government, then I am willing to allow the “rich” to benefit initially.

After looking at this entire oil spill situation, I don’t see how anybody can still make an argument against having EV’s being mainstream as soon as possible.  I’m sure many Americans probably feel the same way as I do are are ready to help rid our country gas cars.

What are you thoughts on whether or not electric car tax incentives are only for the rich?

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