Vehicle of change

The Big Green Bus rides again

Witness the Big Green Bus. Hard to miss, even amid the glaring sun and smog at Bonnaroo. I happened upon the crew of Dartmouth students at the festival last year and got just a few …

Frogs love bikes

Paris bike rental scheme takes off

But wait, I thought bikes were impractical! Taxi drivers and other critics said that it would never work, but three weeks after Paris was sprinkled with 10,000 self-service bicycles, the scheme is proving a triumph …

Word Gets Around

New bike, parking policies leave polluting vehicles in the dust Now for some wheely good news (sorry, it had to be done): officials around the globe are moving forward on innovative eco-transportation schemes. Last week, …

Damn Environment, It’s Always Getting in the Way

Partisan eco-impasse stalls budget vote in California California’s massive state budget is nearly six weeks overdue, and a partisan eco-impasse is a major factor. The state Assembly passed a spending plan in late July, but …

World's first carbon (and car) free city planned

Can it happen here?

From It may seem strange that the emirate of Abu Dhabi, one of the planet's largest suppliers of oil, is planning to build the world's first carbon-neutral city. But in fact, it makes a lot of financial sense. The 3.7-square-mile city, called Masdar, will cut its electricity bill by harnessing wind, solar, and geothermal energy, while a total ban on cars within city walls should reduce the long-term health costs associated with smog. Masdar will be filled with shaded streets to encourage walking. A solar-powered transit system will take you to the airport. Masdar is still on the drawing board -- construction begins in January, with a very tentative completion date of 2009 -- but the result will be watched closely around the world. Maybe they read Car Free Cities by J.H. Crawford.


The next generation of riding transit

Riding transit just got way, way, easier. A new website called SpotBus is wildly better than existing online trip planners. For one thing, you can enter destinations like a normal person -- "Ballard," or "Ikea," or "ferry," or whatever -- not some arcane intersection. It's so much faster and more intuitive that it feels like giving up your old gimcrack five-disc CD changer for an iPod. It only works in the Puget Sound area, but there's no reason something similar couldn't be devised for other regions.

Very well said

The green cartopia ain’t likely to happen

Kurt Cobb writes a smart and sensible review of Who Killed the Electric Car? Excerpt follows:

Carbon Conscious Consumer contest

Go car-free, win stuff

Here's something most Gristers are probably already doing: going car-free once a week. So step up, take credit, and get entered to win these prizes from New American Dream: Grand Prize: A one-week Bike Tour of Oregon for you and a friend, provided by Sustainable Energy in Motion Second Prize: A Villager U-frame Breezer Bike Third Prize: A $200 carbon offset from Native Energy (and a snazzy t-shirt as well)

Engines could easily gulp less gas

MIT lab rats cook up a less wasteful gasoline engine

Don't hum the requiem for the gasoline engine just yet. MIT brainiacs say it's easier than imagined to flip a car between the usual gas-guzzling state to a low-pollution, ultra-efficient mode. The researchers have tested a system that can run on a quarter less than the usual amount of gas without needing any fancy fuel. With the flick of a switch, the setup alternates between regular, spark-triggered combustion and experimental homogeneous charge compression ignition. In the latter system, premixed fuel and air combust when compressed, spewing less soot and NOx from the engine. Volvo has explored the hybrid technology, but many kinks would need to untangle before you could get behind the wheel. If car makers adopted such hybrid gasoline ignitions, the petroleum wouldn't get any cleaner, but less of it would be used, potentially adding a few miles per gallon of efficiency to a car. That might keep the grins up at oil companies and gas stations -- but in dreamland, only for a fleeting moment, as the world weans off of fossil fuels. Right? This and other stopgap car-greening measures of now and the near future are giving people more driving options than ever. What's more interesting -- the novelty of this innovation, or that it's reaching the not-quite-there-yet phase of development more than a century after Daimler and Benz got props for the modern gas engine?

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