Archive for Automobiles

My CAR lowers CAR-bon Emissions!

For many of us the cash for clunkers program was a hectic time of signing papers, saying good bye to our best friends, shopping for new friends, and getting our cars denied because they were too old. Dealers took the cars, and you took your $4,500 or whatever amount of money that you got. So what did you do with it? Did you buy a “new” used car that has the same MPG that your old car had? Well if you did, congratulations you completely missed the point of cash for clunkers!

According to Jeff Bingaman, senator from New Mexico, the point of the program was to encourage Americans to go out and buy fuel efficient cars, cars that lowered carbon emissions. Yet so many people have not realized the full potential of the program. The program is long gone now, and you’ve probably used all of the money. But now is still the time to think of using fuel efficient cars. It’s your turn to motivate yourself to buy hybrid. Your carbon footprint depends on it. And the more you put it off, the more polluted the world becomes. So save up some money, look in your piggy banks, or actually plan to buy a car, because really do you want your car to put the car in carbon emissions.

-Jesse Anyalebechi

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The Economist Host an Online Debate on Fossil Fuels

economist_logoOur Extempers have brought to our attention that the Economist Magazine is hosting a great online debate on Climate change, asking the question, “are we running out of time in our decision to use Fossil Fuels and  whether the world should try to make fossil fuels greener, or abandon them as quickly as possible.”

 The format is similiar to the parliamentary format we will be using soon in our very own climate debates, so log on comment on this very hot topic.

The proposition is: “This house believes that tackling climate change means leaving fossil fuels behind completely and quickly.”

 The moderator, Robert Lane Greene, is the International Correspondent at The Economist, and he explains why the world needs an answer–and soon:

 “The world’s dependence on traditional fossil fuels–particularly coal and oil–must change. But many proposed solutions would simply use fossil fuels in a cleaner or more efficient way. Carbon capture and storage holds out the promise of turning coal-fired electricity clean.

And the world may have more natural gas than previously thought. But spending scarce research and development dollars on these and other fossil-fuel technologies means not spending them on renewables and risks technological dead-ends that will lock in possibly dangerous levels of carbon-dioxide emissions for decades to come.”

 The Green Debate team encourages everyone to join Dr. Gerd Leipold, Executive Director of Greenpeace and Amy Myers Jaffe, Wallace S. Wilson Fellow in Energy Studies, James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy as they argue for and against the motion.

 The closing arguments will be on September 30th and you can vote for your winner October 2nd when the Debate winner will be announced

 Join the debate at:

http://news.economist.com/cgi-bin1/DM/y/eBy6T0N5POS0Mo0F5y70EG

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Green transportation

tailpipe

There are many different ideas for ‘green’ transportation. For cars, many people think it would be best to develop more sustainable vehicles in order to combat fuel costs and the harmful environmental effects of petroleum as a fuel source, while others think it would be best to use what we already have and just make it better. I think it would be best to use the cars we have and come up with ways to have cars transfer kinetic energy to ‘speed bladders’ to generate energy. We should have high-speed bladders for highways for cars traveling between, 55-80 mph, speed bladders that acts as a speed bump for cars slowing down to take exit ramps off the highway and / or into small towns, city speed-bladders that help regulate trafficking and collect energy in a design to optimized to capture energy at lower-speed/higher-frequencies. This will really help on sharp turns on highways; it will reduce the risk for car crashes that will save resources. This is an idea that lets us stick to the way that we have been using, but we can conserve energy. Not saying that building new hybrid cars isn’t a good idea, but we will waste a lot of money and resources on test runs, and building the perfect car; we could use that money for other stuff. Adopting new habits will take a long time, and will be forced. It would be asking a lot of the consumers because the cost shouldn’t be outweighed by the gain. Here are some pros and cons to buying a hybrid car

 

Pros:
* better HP and acceleration than a comparable car
* better (lower) emissions than a comparable car
* better fuel economy than a comparable car
* own a neat techy car
* long warranty (depending on model, the hybrid battery or system is warrantied in the US a minimum of 8 years/80,000 miles, up to the AT-PZEV models in CA-emission states out to 10 years/150,000 miles, and it is NOT pro-rated but a full coverage.)
* you do not plug it in (charges off of the gasoline engine and recaptured kinetic energy while braking)

Cons:
* slightly higher initial purchase price
* own a neat techy car (should you need unscheduled maintenance (break down), you’re mainly stuck paying dealer rates)
* many ill-informed people stopping you and asking questions about your car, telling you untruths about your own car, or even telling you how stupid you were for buying it…
* you cannot plug it in

*does not have is its braking system

*Consumer advocate testing has shown that hybrid savings in fuel economy usually fails to offset the extra purchase price

* Always return to the dealer for repair

 

When you stick with the old habit idea, you get to keep that car that you love, don’t have to spend loads of money on a hybrid, parts for your car are easily accessible, and you won’t have to worry about new updated versions of hybrid cars.

– Christina Williamson

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Green School year

schoolbusWith the new school year here and everybody worried about going green, it leaves the question: How do I go green during the school year? And it is pretty simple, especially since it is obvious things but we just don’t know it yet. An average family spends 594.24 on school back-to-school purchases each year. And while schools require supplies, we too often throw away reusable things; 6 billion pens get throw away in the U.S every year. If we 220,000 sheets of paper is recycled it saves approximately 17 trees. The average school tosses 38 tons of paper that is equivalent to 644 trees each year, so getting that paper recycled can make a difference. To save money and trees and be green you can do the following:

• Ask yourself “what do I need?” Do I really need a new ruler or a new pack of pens?
• Reuse anything that can be reused. If it is trashed, ripped, or messed up you don’t have to feel guilty about replacing it unless you and your friends were fighting with it last year.
• Stick to your shopping list that you made before you left the house.
• School clothes don’t have to be brand-spankin-new, you can shop at thrift stores, and go to events like Swap-o-Rama-Rama. It will be fun and cheap, you can find good clothes at Buffalo Exchange and still have your ultra-hip clothes.
• You can use biodegradable pencils and refillable pens, and recycled versions of both.
• Buy products with the highest percent of post-consumer recycled content as possible, such as New Leaf Paper and Mead Recycled Notebooks for school use. And print on both sides of the paper for drafts and it never hurt to ask to email your work to a teacher.
• Don’t use brown paper bags for school lunch, instead use washable, reusable container to bring your lunch too and from school. Make sure it doesn’t contain harmful levels of lead.
• Walking or riding a bike to school is a great way to go green; riding the bus would be next and driving alone dead last.

These are some great things for you to do when you are buying school supplies during the school year, or just trying to stay green.

-Christina Williamson

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Thanks to all

Thanks to all the people who contributed to the blog in order to make it a success. All these posts help keep us high up inside of the competition this was made for, and so now we have made it to the top 10 because of it. The team is now able to send some students to New York to the United Nations Headquarters in order to learn more about helping out the environment.

As such, this is most likely the last update until late into the next school year, when we continue to all work together on these green activities. Until then, thanks once more to all the people that have contributed. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without you guys.

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Cars of the Future

hybridvehicledealerhybridcarhybridau-fullIn the world, today we are trying to find ways to prevent or help stop the global warming problem that we have now. We trying to solve that problem by making a change the way we see things, like we could use wind turbines, water sources, solar energy, and recycle things that we could recycle, instead of the fossil fuels to power our home and our cars. So basically we are putting dangerous gas into our earth’s ozone, and without the ozone we could have skin cancer or any other dangerous diseases that could hurt us and our families.

One of the ways that help and prevent the global problem is reducing the fossil fuels in our cars. I bet everyone heard about how the major car corporations are trying to reducing the fossil fuel by building cars that run on water or ethanol or some other fuel. Water as a replacing fuel for a car sound a little crazy, but nothing is impossible, unless you don’t try. Unfortunately I heard it on the news and found out that didn’t work very well. An article call “No longer the next big thing, green automobiles are here now” by Dan Carney of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote something interesting that caught for a moment. The article wrote” GM Vice-Chairman Bob Lutz. Said “Electricity makes a lot of sense because it almost completely displaces gasoline,”. This article was really interesting about how the car corporations are trying to replace the fossil fuels with electricity to power the car. Just think about it. Vision yourself connecting your car into a outlet and letting it charge for an hour, isn’t it cool? Instead of drive your car, which wastes more gas, and fill it up and drive back home; you could be doing something else other than wasting time driving to the gas station and back. With this idea getting accomplished, car corporations are saving you money and time, except that your electricity bill could be a little high than you think. Petty interesting, right?  So that is basically what the government and the companies are trying to do as replacement for the fossil fuels that they are trying to reduce in order to save our planet from the global warming that we currently  in. If you want to read the article that I read then click on this website: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/02/15/MTGK15RDSR.DTL

So this one of the ideas that the car companies have come up with in order to save and stop global warming from harming us any longer and from ours love ones. I bet there many ideas that aren’t discovered yet by anyone who cares the world, I would say to those who has a great idea to speak up for the world’s sake or your or their children to get a chance to do something great for the world. So from picking up a piece paper and throw it in the recycling bin or out in the world trying to come with ideas to save our pitiful, yet delicate planet, we all trying to make a difference. Like our principle Mr. Lowery always said “Be the differences that makes a difference.

-Nancy Ton

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What’s That Smoke Coming From Willie’s Bus?

wilienelsongasThe famous country singer, Willie Nelson,  has long been a friend of the American farmer and of plants in general, but I was shocked this weekend to learn that he is also an avid fan of the environment. This weekend I happened across a Fox program featuring the earthy Willie Nelson and former Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee in a mini-jam on late night programing.

Huckabee brought up the fact that his tour bus smelled like french fries, and Willie explained that all his vehicles, including his tour bus and $100,000 Mercedes ran on vegatable oil biofuel. They continued to talk about the importance of increasing American biofuel production to support our local farmers.

This exchange made me question once again the feasablity of biofuels, especially made from food producing plants. I remember first learning about the detrimental effects of rising food prices and cutting of the rainforest attributed to ethonal in a Times cover story last April entitled the clean energy myth. The question is, will biofuels do more harm or good, and can the average person afford the transition.

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