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Green Cars

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Nissan Leaf, meet Ford Pinto

There were two interesting cars parked on my street this week. One was a Nissan Leaf (see my test drive video here). The other was a Ford Pinto. The Pinto was one of the forerunners of today's small hatchbacks. It had bucket seats with a hand brake between them, a back seat that folded down, a small four-cylinder engine, and of course a hatch back. I owned four of them through high school and college because used versions were inexpensive and easy to repair, although thanks to shody manufacturing, they never lasted long. Long ago and far away, I once …

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Google Maps tells you where to shove it, where “it” is the plug of your electric car

Looking for a place to plug in your electric car? Now you can find it the same way you find everything else: Google Maps. The Goog has reached out its electronic tentacles and absorbed the Department of Energy's master list of U.S. electric vehicle charging stations (there are over 600, at least one for every Volt sold in the country this year).

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trips up homes down

Wanna green your ride? Ditch the Prius, hop on a train

Chart: EPA Here's one to piss off the yuppies: Driving your hybrid car from your Energy Star home to the food co-op is not as green as hopping on the subway from your apartment. A new EPA study says that moving from a car-oriented to a transit-oriented community has the biggest impact on your energy usage -- more than green buildings or green cars. Of course, doing something is better than nothing. Not everyone can move to multi-family building in a transit-oriented city, which the study found is the greenest way to go (besides, of course, moving to a multi-family …

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Plugging in

Chicago to build electric car charging network

An electric car charging station next to a gas station in Lake Oswego, Ore.Photo: Todd MecklemFirst Chicago gets Rahm Emanuel, now electric cars. Well, at least an electric car infrastructure. In a move that indicates electric cars won't just be a phenomenon of Greater Portlandia, utility Exelon and the city will roll out 280 charging stations across Chicagoland by year's end. Two stations will even be solar-powered. It's part of a smart grid demonstration project, partially funded by the federal government, to get a jump-start on the potential impact on the electric system if Chicagoans start buying battery-powered vehicles in …

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how we rolls

Rolls Royce electric car will let blue-bloods go green

  Here's what needs to happen for electric cars to become the new industry standard: They need to be seen as sexier, manlier, and more upscale than original fossil-fuel flavor. We know, we know, but don't shoot the messenger. Fortunately, Rolls Royce is now making inroads into the last one (and maybe the first) by unveiling a new electric car. The Rolls-Royce 102EX, also known as the Phantom Experimental Electric, will be used as part of a pilot project to test the future of EVs with the car company's core drivers. If it goes into production, this will be one …

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dying to get to work

Sitting in traffic triggers more heart attacks than eating, alcohol, cocaine, and sex

Running your car in an enclosed garage is one way to kill yourself -- so why do it outside?Photo: Simone RamellaSomeday our descendants will get around solely by hover-monorail and electric car, and it will blow their cybernetically-enhanced minds that there ever lived a race backward enough to huff automobile exhaust for an hour a day during its collective commute. Until then, we have statistics like these, derived from a meta-study that drew data from 36 other papers: Air pollution from auto exhaust triggers a greater proportion of all heart attacks (7.4 percent) than physical exertion (6.2 percent), drinking alcohol …

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The road to success

Do you live in one of the nation’s ‘smartest regions for transportation’?

You might not see much similarity between More people walk to work in Boston than in any other city in the country.Photo: Steve MinorYolo County, Calif., with its open farmland and small cities, and the densely packed streets of New York City. But both are on the Natural Resource Defense Council's list of "America's Smartest Regions for Transportation." The list is a result of a study done by the NRDC's Smarter Cities Project, in collaboration with the Center for Neighborhood Technology: The study... compares and profiles U.S. cities based on public transit availability and use; household automobile ownership and use; …

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The Colonel's Secret Recipe

It’s like Gadhafi is telling us to get off oil or something

Self-congratulatory poster of Gadhafi in Green Square in Tripoli, LibyaPhoto: QuigiboMoammar Gadhafi is a crazy dictator who is murdering his populace and needs to get a cruise missile shat down his neck, but what we all really want to know is: how are the actions of this homicidal crazypants going to affect our summer vacation? Those of you heading to the Jersey Shore for copulation and spray-tan are going to have fewer dollars to drop on wine coolers, for one. A combination of economic and political factors could see gas reach its highest level, ever -- higher even than the …

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I drink your milkshake

China to blow the doors off Obama’s namby-pamby electric car program

China's BYD e6 all-electric sedan.Photo: BYD HAHAHAHAHA! -- China China just announced plans to build 1 million electric cars per year. Let's put that in perspective: In Obama's State of the Union Address, he said the U.S. should shoot for 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015, total. Here's the really crazy part of this equation: a panel of U.S. auto industry experts thinks Obama's plan is "too ambitious," and that automakers are unlikely to meet that goal because of "uncertain consumer demand." (As Todd Woody reported for Grist, the U.S. Department of Energy disagrees, arguing that 1 …

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Offer me alternatives and I decline

Why you don’t want gas to get cheaper

Image: Grist Americans would like to pay less at the pump. But what would that take? How about another economic crash -- or perhaps you'd prefer an ecological one. However the next century shakes out, one thing's for sure: the ever-growing gap between world oil supplies and demand is making itself felt, and the longer it takes us to break our addiction, the more painful the coming decades will be. The latest reminder: a State Department cable released by Wikileaks which quotes the former second in command of Saudi Arabia's national oil company asserting that his country cannot save us …