OK, so we do know that we’d be better environmental human beings if we were walking the talk instead of driving the talk. But we’re patting ourselves on the back just a little bit anyway, as we consider our gasoline-electric hybrid cars one step forward on our long road to becoming less of a blight on the earth.
Managing editor Maren Thompson Bzdek sent the Natural Home staff into severe automobile envy last year when she began driving to work in her hot-off-the-lot Toyota Prius sedan, the world’s first mass-produced hybrid vehicle. How could we stand driving our old, gas-hog, fume-spitting jalopies when Maren’s car was averaging forty-eight miles per gallon and meeting Super Ultra Low-Emission standards—running nearly 75 percent cleaner than even the Ultra Low-Emission vehicles?
Maren soon enjoined editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence, whose public shame was driving around in a 1991 4Runner, to sign the Clean Car Campaign’s Clean Car Pledge, vowing that when it came time to bring a new car or truck into her life, she would buy “the greenest vehicle available that meets my needs and fits my budget.” The pledge, sent electronically to automakers by the folks who sponsor the Clean Car Campaign, asks for new cars that are 50 percent more fuel efficient than other vehicles in their class, meet California’s stringent tailpipe emission standards, and are cleanly manufactured using nontoxic, recyclable materials. More than 10,000 people have already taken the pledge.
When Honda announced its 2003 Civic Hybrid, which averages forty-nine miles per gallon and meets the ultra-low emitting tailpipe standard, Robyn was finally able to live up to her pledge.
For more information, or to take the Clean Car Pledge, visit www.cleancarcampaign.org.