29 April 2009

That's not Green we can believe in

Perhaps you read Failblog and noticed a "Going Green Fail" they posted. Well, it's below:

Oh, that is so wrong on so many levels I won't even start. Eco Smart makes energy saving products like tankless water heaters which actually do save energy. But to plaster their name on a Hummer? Poor form, guys, poor form.

Of course, someone presciently pointed out that (877) 47 GO GREEN truncates to (877) 474-OGRE. So if you want a water heater, just dial the Hummer-driving ogres as Eco-Smart.

19 April 2009

Who else doesn't own a car?

Two top Obama administration officials, it turns out. In today's New York Times, we find out that Ezekiel Emanuel and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu don't own cars (although Chu is now forced to be driven around by a security detail, and he "doesn't feel good about it.")

No word on if they are car sharers, but when our leaders eschew car ownership, perhaps times are a-changin'.

By the way, the Magazine this week is themed as the Green Issue, and it's a pretty good read.

And, yes, Emanuel is the brother of Chief of Staff, Rahm. Their other brother, Ari, the basis for Ari Gold on the teevee show Entourage, graduated from Macalester College, which is, of course, an HOURCAR Hub.

02 April 2009

Driving hybrid

There's an interesting story on NPR this morning (perhaps you heard it? It seems a lot of our cars are tuned to NPR.) about how driving style matters—a lot—when you are driving a plug-in hybrid.
"Oh-oh. You see that heavy foot right there? You just got the gas motor to come on at 20 miles an hour," she says.

That's a total no-no if you want to get the most miles per gallon. You want to rely on the battery and keep the gas motor off. At 20 mph, there's no reason for it to kick in — unless you have a heavy foot, which, apparently, I do.

"There's no need to just kind of punch it. It'll go," Fahenstock says. "You're really not going to get to your destination any sooner. Why do you need to accelerate so quickly?"

The two solar-powered plug-in hybrid HOURCARs are of a similar (if not the same) design, and how you drive them definitely makes a big difference. If you take them out on the freeway at 75 mph, drive with jackrabbit starts, or are a complete leadfoot, your mileage will likely be subpar. If you drive them gently, accelerate slowly, and do your best to not engage the gas engine (especially at speeds below 42 mph—when the gas engine spins up no matter), you'll do better.

And, of course, every Prius in the HOURCAR fleet has a nifty screen which lets you know how efficiently you drive. (Consensus is that if these were mandated in every car in the country, fuel consumption would decline appreciably.) Next time you're out in a car, reset the mileage, and when you are done, if you have driven well, send us a picture of the screen with the great milage and we'll post it here. I'd say we'd give the best mileage a free t-shirt but … all of our members already get t-shirts!