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Tagged : automobiles


Soon not just your kid, but your car could get a report card

September 7th, 2010

New government labels are coming for cars and they could clearly send some vehicles straight to the head of the class, while others wind up just a grade away from detention.

These new labels, developed by the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Environmental Protection, are designed to make it clearer for consumers where a car stands on the spectrums of fuel economy, carbon emissions and energy use. The idea is to help people compare vehicles across types, which can be tricky under the current system, which displays a car’s EPA-figured gas mileage on the retail sticker sheet plastered to the side window.

One new label under consideration grades the vehicle for energy use and emissions.

One new label under consideration grades the vehicle for energy use and emissions.

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Lester Brown: Reclaiming the Streets

May 20th, 2010

strong>By Lester R. Brown

Lester Brown

Lester Brown founded the Earth Policy Institute and Worldwatch Institute

Cars promise mobility, and in a largely rural setting they provide it. But in an urbanizing world, where more than half of us live in cities, there is an inherent conflict between the automobile and the city. After a point, as their numbers multiply, automobiles provide not mobility but immobility, as well as increased air pollution and the health problems that come with it. Urban transport systems based on a combination of rail lines, bus lines, bicycle pathways, and pedestrian walkways offer the best of all possible worlds in providing mobility, low-cost transportation, and a healthy urban environment.

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Be part of the solution: Travel lighter

April 23rd, 2010

Vintage car (Photo: Stephen Mcsweeney/Dreamstime)

Vintage car (Photo: Stephen Mcsweeney/Dreamstime)

After running our households, transportation is the second biggest way we humans degrade the environment. If we were traveling in droves, on say trains, it wouldn’t be so bad. But our penchant to scoot around solo or in small groups in gas-fueled vehicles has left an impressive scar on the globe. Starting with the paved roads that carve up wildlife habitat, and ending with those recently popular luxury SUVs that spurn air quality with their single and low double digit gas mileage, automobiles have created a huge carbon footprint.

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U.S. car fever waning after a century of growth

February 22nd, 2010

(This article, originally entitled U.S. Car Fleet Shrank by Four Million in 2009 – After a Century of Growth, U.S. Fleet Entering Era of Decline ran on the Earth Policy Institute website in January. Its author, Lester R. Brown is president of the EPI and author of Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization.)

By Lester R. Brown

America’s century-old love affair with the automobile may be coming to an end. The U.S. fleet has apparently peaked and started to decline. In 2009, the 14 million cars scrapped exceeded the 10 million new cars sold, shrinking the U.S. fleet by 4 million, or nearly 2 percent in one year. While this is widely associated with the recession, it is in fact caused by several converging forces.

Future U.S. fleet size will be determined by the relationship between two trends: new car sales and cars scrapped. Cars scrapped exceeded new car sales in 2009 for the first time since World War II, shrinking the U.S. vehicle fleet from the all-time high of 250 million to 246 million. It now appears that this new trend of scrappage exceeding sales could continue through at least 2020. (See data.)

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