Sunday, April 11, 2010

The 2010 Chicago Auto Show Revs Up the Green

by Eli Chen

To some, cars all about the speed, the style, the roar of the engines, and the way one feels cruising inside of their dream vehicle—to us environmentalists, it’s about the mileage, the carbon emissions, and the alternative fuels. The 2010 Annual Chicago Auto Show lit up McCormick Place with the latest masterpieces of the worldwide auto industry. As the transportation sector becomes more notorious for being a top contributor of greenhouse gas pollution, car companies are flaunting their green, from Audi’s clean diesel vehicles to Hyundai’s electric Blue Will. Toyota’s massive art panels involved wind turbines, and their improvement on the Prius, the FT-CH concept car, was placed on a revolving platform. Honda also went all out with their eco-friendly cars by not only displaying sporty hybrid cars like the CR-Z, but also the hydrogen fuel cell-powered FCX Clarity. Lexus also presents us with the HS which demonstrates the fuel efficiency of 34 mpg and has a bioplastic interior. But the Asian companies aren’t the only ones reveling in their eco-tech glory: the Best Green Car of the show turned out to be the electric Chevrolet Volt. Chevrolet, most noticeably among the American makes, displayed a varied effort to promote fuel-efficiency, through making electric cars like the Volt and “FlexFuel,” or ethanol 85-compatible, vehicles like the Silverado. Though not every car make had the environment on its agenda—for instance, the flashy Viper’s and Ferrari’s—the push for alternative fuels is hard to ignore with this year’s show. The clear initiative for greener ways to drive shows a lot of promise down the road.

Photos from the Chicago Auto Show

Sunday, February 14, 2010

JOIN US FEBRUARY 26th at the Canopy Club


Consider using the zip car service on campus!

Zipcar was founded in 1999 and is now the world's largest membership-based car sharing company. There are over 325,000 members and a presence across more than 13 big cities and 140 universities.

The car sharing takes place on a pay-per-use system, which has the effect of significantly altering driving behavior. Evidence suggests that sharers drive from a quarter to half as much as owners. Not only do they drive less frequently, but they also drive differently by "chaining" trips, making multiple stops along the shortest route in order to ensure efficiency.

Each Zipcar is estimated to remove 15-20 cars off the road. We estimate that our cars have replaced 100,000 others resulting in savings of more than 16 million gallons of gasoline and 150 million pounds of CO2 annually.

Another very important statistic is that members of Zipcar and car sharing programs report a 47% increase in public transit trips, a 10% increase in bicycling trips and a 26% increase in walking trips.
What this company is trying to do has effects beyond just sharing cars, it's a real effort to change the way we think and function.

Currently for UIUC students, the fee for a Zipcar membership is $35 annually. With this comes an instant $35 in driving credits, making the membership essentially free. If you have seen the website, you may have noted how simple it is to reserve a car and see what is available to you here on campus. The reservations costs $8 an hour on weekdays and $9 on the weekend but are capped at $66 for weekdays and $72 on weekends (meaning you'll never pay more than that for a day). You may travel up to 180 miles per 24 hours of your reservation and the best part is that gas and insurance are included!

For more information, please visit the their website: