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Why buy an electric car? National security, says Iraq vet

Tim Goodrich has served three tours of duty in a support role in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he loves his all-electric Nissan Leaf. His basic message, for all the Vince Vaughan types out there, is that if Americans think electric cars are “gay,” maybe it's because we aren’t as in touch with what it takes to get the oil required to make a conventional vehicle go. "How much sense does it make," he asks, "to send money to countries that don't like us, don't share our values, and sometimes find ways to get that money into the hands of terrorist …

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Secret electric supercar to be unveiled in Korea by end of year

If you thought the all-electric Tesla Roadster was fast -- it can go from zero to 60 in 3.7 seconds -- wait until you get a load of the forthcoming electric supercar from little-known Leo Motors of South Korea. Details are sketchy, but the company claims that within six months, it will show off a vehicle that goes from zero to 60 in 2.9 seconds. That level of acceleration would make it the second fastest electric vehicle in the world, after the all-electric Shelby SuperCars Aero EV. (The Areo EV is no slouch when compared to conventional vehicles, by the …

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Critical List: EPA gives chemical industry a pass; Rolls-Royce owners snubs EVs

The EPA could ask chemical companies to report on Americans' exposure to their products, but it's not. "Where's there's coal, there's opportunity": The energy industry funds brainwashing -- sorry, "education" -- for students. The Grand Calumet river ferries about 200,000 cubic yards of toxic crap into Lake Michigan each year. The federal government is cleaning it up. Slowly. Bill McKibben lays out the strategy for pushing back on Obama's energy choices. Rolls-Royce owners poo-poo electric cars. The company's CEO thinks it's because his customers live in sprawly suburbs where 100 miles, the range of most EVs, just won't cut it.

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Americans want fuel-efficient cars — can Detroit keep up?

The fuel-efficient Ford Focus is in high demand. The Ford Econoline van? Not so much.Photo: Ford Motor CompanyCross-posted from Climate Progress. This post was cowritten by Tyce Herrman. With gas prices just below the $4 per gallon mark and possibly climbing to $5 per gallon later this summer, Americans are demanding more fuel-efficient automobiles. But U.S. automakers are having trouble keeping up with that demand, according to a poll by Reuters: Higher car prices and a shortage of fuel-efficient vehicles likely threw a roadblock in the U.S. auto industry's recovery path in May, when the Japan crisis had its biggest …

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Greener cars and fuel mean fewer deaths tied to vehicle emissions

Cars idling in traffic lead to more than 2,200 premature deaths each year, according to a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health. But lower vehicle emissions and cleaner fuels have been driving down that number for past decade, and the number of deaths will continue to decrease until about 2025, the study says. Here's a graph from the study showing projected premature deaths connected to congested traffic from 2000-2030: What happens in 2025? Presumably, increased emissions from congestion begin to overtake gains from greener fuel and car design. The study was funded by a coalition of transportation …

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How green is this car? New fuel economy stickers give a few hints

The federal government is making it easier for consumers to buy an eco-friendly vehicle. New fuel economy window stickers released today detail annual fuel costs and fuel-costs savings and give greenhouse-gas ratings. The stickers will start appearing on 2013 models. It's a little busy with information, and the environmental community was pushing for a different model that gave each car an overall A to D letter grade for its fuel economy and pollution impact. That version would have required less effort from dense consumers. The new model has plenty of fine print to trip people up: It notes, for instance, …

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New vehicle labels take three steps forward, one step back

This post was written by Therese Langer, transportation program director at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and a contributing author at the ACEEE blog. The new vehicle fuel economy label announced today by the EPA and the Department of Transportation (DOT) beats the current label, providing better information on fuel costs and adding emissions of both greenhouse gases and traditional air pollutants. The new label takes on the confusing matter of the divergence of fuel economy and greenhouse-gas performance when fuels other than gasoline enter the mix, showing for example how a diesel vehicle does better on miles-per-gallon …

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Great places: dense, wired, and sustainable

This is part three in a series on "great places." Read parts one, two, four, and five. Part of what makes great places great is ecological sustainability. So what's the best way to reduce our per-capita resource footprint? Typically you hear one of two stories. One is about technology: making gadgets, appliances, vehicles, and factories leaner and more efficient. The other is about conservation, i.e., consciously choosing to use less stuff. Neither of those stories captures the biggest opportunity and the best strategy for reducing consumption and waste, which is, quite simply, density. Density is the sine qua non of …

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Critical List: Tornado hits Joplin, Missouri; Chicago preps for climate change

A half-mile wide tornado leveled a Missouri town. And another volcano in Iceland poured ash into the sky. Cut it out, nature, we get it: you don't like airplanes. In Chicago, government officials not only believe in climate change, they are preparing the city for a steamier future. Local officials have been leading on adaptation for awhile, but, in this case, it probably doesn't hurt Chicago pols to say, loudly, that the city's destined to get less frigid. High gas prices means job-seekers are looking for employment closer to home. Sounds like it's time to invest in some public transportation …

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Turning over the new Leaf

How do the Leaf's emissions stack up?Finally. If you don't like being dependent on oil -- but find that you do need to drive -- you've got at least one decent option. The Nissan Leaf is the first mass-produced, mass-market electric vehicle to hit the U.S. sales floors in ... well, essentially forever. (Yeah, I know about the Tesla and the EV1. But the former is too expensive to be in the range of most families, and the latter was never really offered for sale -- you could only lease it.) The Leaf's a bit pricey, but for many families …