Friday, February 27, 2009

Most fuel-efficient used cars

Want to save money when you a buy a used car? The Daily Green has a list of the most fuel-efficient used cars by model and year.

The cars that were examined were off of the best used cars list from Consumer Reports.

The more efficient a car, the less environmental impact it has and the less money you will have to spend on gas.

Check out the list here if you're looking to buy a used car, or even if you're just curious.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

FastLane users charged faulty fees

As if the plans to increases tolls weren't enough for motorists to worry about, an audit of the Mass Turnpike today revealed that up to 1 million FastLane users are being charged too much when they pass through toll booths because of aging equipment.

The camera that determines the number of axles a vehicle has can mistake smaller vehicles for three- to eight-axle trucks. This results in additional charges, sometimes as much as double the actual toll.

FastLane users no longer receive statements in the mail, so most of them are probably unaware of the faulty charges.

The Herald broke this story. Here's the link for more info.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Citizens protest as legistators debate gas tax

Over two dozen citizens protested outside the State House on Beacon Hill today as state legislators debated proposed gas tax increases.

Governor Patrick's administration has implemented plans to increases tolls on the Mass Pike on March 29 if the legislators don't vote to increase the gas tax before then. Plans range from increasing the tax by 4 cents a gallon to as much as 19 cents a gallon.

The protesters urged motorists driving by to honk in disapproval of the gas tax.

Governor Patrick has asked for a 19-cent increase to pay for a number of transportation-related issues.

For more info, check out this story from The Herald. The Herald also has several other stories related to the gas tax and toll increases.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pike tolls going up

The Mass Pike Authority approved a plan today to raise tolls at the Allston booths and the Ted Williams/Sumner Tunnels.

The first hike will go in effect March 29, raising tolls at the Allston booths to $1.50 and in both tunnels to $5.50. The Allston tolls are currently $1.25, and the tunnel tolls are currently $3.50.

A second hike will go into effect on July 1, raising tools at the Allston booths to $2 and in both tunnels to $7.

The raises will not take effect if the state legislature increases the state gas tax before March 29, or the increases will be rolled back if the gas tax is increased after that, board members claimed.

The board said the first increase is necessary to close its $8.1 million budget gap, and the second increase will raise $100 million to pay off debt and make structural upgrades to roads and bridges.

For more info, check out this story from The Globe.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fewer Americans buy green during recession

Thirty-six percent of American consumers say they try to buy green products, according to a consumer study released today.

This is the exact same percentage of consumers who said the same thing last year. However, the number tripled from 2007 to 2008, indicating that consumers are thinking less about going green during the current recession.

Experts say that consumers' priorities have changed, and spending money on green products, which are often more experience than their competitors, is less common. The survey supported this as 54 percent said they would buy more green products if they were less expensive.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Economic stimulus invests in nation's parks

The economic stimulus plan that was recently signed into law by President Obama includes over $900 million in funds for work on national parks, many of which have been neglected in recent years.

The funds will create an estimated 100,000 jobs, similar to what FDR did with the Civilian Conversation Corps during The Great Depression.

Not only will the job creation boost the economy, the work done will benefit current U.S. citizens and generations to come by preserving our nation's resources.

For more info, check out this story from The Daily Green.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stimulus bill could help New Bedford rail project

Senator John Kerry said that the $838 billion economic stimulus bill could help jumpstart the proposed $1.4 billion rail project to New Bedford and Fall River.

The bill included $2 billion for high-speed rail projects, money that may be used to aid the project.

The rail line would certainly boost the economy of the South Coast area and make it easier for residents in the area to get to Boston for work. The line would also take cars off the interstates in the area, lowering both traffic and the environmental impact of commutes of residents into Boston.

While the project is a great idea, the issue is coming up with the money to pay for it. Hopefully the state can use some of the stimulus package money to make this new rail line possible.

For more info, check out this story in The Herald.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cell phones get greener

Green cell phone models are being marketed by companies targeting environmentally-conscious consumers.

For instance, Motorola now offers a model manufactured completely from recycled water bottles. The phone itself is also recyclable and comes in packaging made of 100 percent recycled paper.

For more info on other green phones, check out this story from The Daily Green.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

U.S. supports the EU's call for mercury use treaty

In another sign of the shift in environment policy the Obama Administration has brought to the U.S., a deputy secretary of state told world environmental leaders at a meeting in Kenya that the U.S. would support the European Union's call for an international treaty banning mercury.

Mercury is known to cause damage to the nervous system in humans as well as other health problems. The U.N. estimates that nearly 6,000 tons of the substance is released into the environment worldwide each year.

Many countries support making the treaty non-legally binding, which would make the regulations voluntary; however, the U.S. has now taken the position that the treaty should be legally binding, meaning that the countries that sign it would be required to abide by its regulations.

For more information, check out this story from Reuters.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Three-wheeled, aerodynamic eletric car coming onto the scene

It looks like something straight out of a science fiction movie, but the Aptera 2e may soon be changing the way people look at electric cars.

The three-wheeled, aerodynamic (and very odd or cool looking, depending on your perspective) all-electric car is scheduled to began rolling off the assembly line in October at price tag of between $25,000 and $40,000.

And it appears the car is catching on, as the company has already received over 4,000 deposits for the new vehicle.

Road & Track has more info, as well as some slide shows with more pictures and video of this innovative electric car.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Boston's greenest restaurants

For those who want to support restaurants in Boston who are willing to take steps to reduce their environmental impact, has this article describing the greenest restaurants in Boston.

These restaurants have shown they are willing to buy locally and think in innovative ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Check them out some time.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Stimulus bill remains green after compromise

With the debate in Congress surrounding the specifics of the stimulus bill, many environmentally-friendly onlookers worried that much of the spending on green technology and initiatives would be taken out.

However, now that the debate over the bill is finished and a compromised has been reached, nearly $100 billion remains in the bill to fund programs that reduce our dependence on oil and generate more electricity from renewable sources.

In the past, environmentally-friendly programs were viewed as mutually exclusive to those that create economic development. What the Obama administration has done through this bill is prove that the U.S. can become more green and create jobs at the same time.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Audubon study shows global warming pushes birds northward

The warming climate in North America is pushing some birds as far as 300 miles further northward than only a few decades ago, according to a study released today by the Audubon Society.

The report concluded that the U.S. government needs to make drastic environmental policy changes to stop "pervasive ecological disruption."

The Daily Green noted some findings in the study:
  • Of the 305 species studied, 58 percent spend winters further north.
  • Seventy percent of common bird feeder and forest birds shifted their ranges north.
  • The average northward migration among all species is 35 miles.
  • The three species to move the furthest are the Purple Finch, Pine Siskin and Boreal Chickadee.
For more info, check out the full article here.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Australia's wildfires show signs of global warming

The worst wildfires in the nation's history are ravaging Australia, and there are already at least 171 people reported dead from them.

While its believed that arsonists started the initial blazes, experts are blaming two other culprits—drought and heat—for the spreading of the fires, both of which are tell-tell signs of global warming.

The L.A. Times reported that the fires "incinerated people trying to flee in their cars, sent towering walls of flames sweeping through small towns, and sparked a new debate over whether homeowners should be allowed to stay to try to protect their property."

The fires are so large that they are visible from space.

Dan Shapley, of The Daily Green, wrote that "t
he wildfires have struck a region suffering through the Big Dry, a multi-year period marked by drought and heat waves that has led many Australians to a new and immediate understanding of climate change."

Monday, February 9, 2009

Parts of Storrow Drive ramps closed after concrete collapses

A warning to drivers who use Storrow Drive in Boston: The on-ramp from Storrow Drive to Boylston Street and the off-ramp from Charlesgate East to Storrow Drive will be closed indefinitely after a piece of concrete fell from an overpass in the area.

Cars traveling east will be unable to exit at the Bowker overpass, and vehicles heading west will not be able to exit to Kenmore Square, reported.

The ramps will remain closed until state officials deem the area is safe again for vehicles.

This is just another commuting and traveling headache that can be avoided by using public transit to get around Boston. Your company offers incentives for you to commute using methods other than driving alone. Have you checked into them recently?

January carpool promotion

The winners have been selected and will be notified soon and receive their prize. Prizes will be delivered by transportation coordinators.

BG's C100 All Electric Car to be Mass Produced in MA

BG is looking at spaces in New Bedford and Fall River for the company to mass produce it's C100. The C100 is an all-electric car.

In case you didn't know, your company's landlord may be able to provide you with an electric recharging station for your electric car. This is definitely worth looking into if you are considering an electric car, and if you need any help, just e-mail your transportation coordinator.

Friday, February 6, 2009

President Obama tries to balance environmental reform with economic improvement

In its first few weeks in offices, the Obama administration is already showing that it will be dedicated to focusing on renewable forms of energy and stricter emissions standards.

However, some leading economists are skeptical of whether the administration can bring the country out of its current recession while creating environmental reform. Environmental experts lend further support to this notion, as many of them are saying that the changes Obama is proposing will not be easy to enact.

"These technologies are not new. They have been around for 10 to 15 years," Bill Chameides, dean of the Nicholas School of Environment at Duke University, told CNN. "Government can push new policies, but it has to prove to be economically competitive or else it will not happen."

While its definitely a positive thing for the Obama administration to be showing a dedication to environmental reform, it also will be a delicate balancing act between improving the U.S. economy and cleaning up the environment for the new administration.

For more, check out this story on

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Pictures of Antarctica show damage done by global warming

The Daily Green has some beautiful, but shocking, photos of Antarctica that demonstrate the damaging effects global warming is having on the polar regions of our planet.

Click here to see and read more about what rising temperatures are doing to the frozen continent.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

New U.S. Energy Secretary issues warning on global warming

In his first interview since being confirmed as President Obama's Energy Secretary, Steven Chu warned that California's farms and vineyards could die out by the end of this century.

Chu said that water shortages in the West could have huge consequences for the land in California, his home state and the United States' leading agricultural producer.

Chu's comments show how seriously the Obama Cabinet considers the consequences of global warming, which is in sharp contract from a Bush administration that never issued such a warning.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Study suggests corn ethanol no better for environment than gasoline

A University of Minnesota study has concluded that ethanol made from corn is no better for the environment and human health than gasoline.

The study examined the emissions that occur from the growing, harvesting, producing, and burning of three types of fuel—gasoline, corn ethanol, and plant-based ethanol—before making this conclusion. The study also said that the plant-based ethanol is, by far, the best for the environment and human health.

Obviously, this is being met with stiff opposition from ethanol supporters, as the ethanol industry brings in $6 billion a year in Minnesota alone.

To read more, here's a story in today's Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Biking to work increases your productivity

Employees who bike to work miss an average of one less day a year because of sickness or illness, according to a study by the Dutch transport ministry.

Less sick days means an employee is more productive and that his or her company makes more money. Your company provides incentives to encourage you to bike to work because it keeps you healthy and makes you more productive. Are you aware of these incentives?