The race is not always to the swift

chiavw.jpgI see the future, and it is . . . Nascar!  (No, come to think of it, that’s the present.) OK, this is a personal confession.  One of the windmills at which I’m tilting with the NP is to do my small part (for the three readers who occasionally come to this site–welcome back guys!) to get out the message that conservation and environmentally progressive activities are not wacko political fringe issues but should be at the center of all our discourse about the future, whether political, economic, or religious. 

Happily, the tide appears increasingly to be turning in this direction.  Still, certain segments of the populace are coming around to it more slowly than others (as can be gleaned from some of the comments in response to Bob Marshall’s discussion of climate change at the Green Sportsman. Sheesh). 

So I have a secret plan. 

My dream is to sponsor a high-powered stock car (bright green, of course), with “The Natural Patriot” emblazoned on the hood of its brawny biodiesel-devouring powerplant.  Yes, I know the nitro-powered guys will kick its butt.  But at least it will be visible — probably the only flash of green to be seen amid the burning rubber and spilt Miller light.  And Americans love an underdog, right? So if my readership includes any wealthy, progressively leaning philanthropists interested in a hairbrained but fun idea, I am currently accepting proposals. 

So I thought this was a pretty cool idea.  But it appears that someone’s beat me to the punch.  Peter DeLorenzo has recently formed the Hydrogen Electric Racing Federation (HERF), which aims to spin up a racing series using hydrogen fuel cell-powered electric cars.  No, I am not making this up.  The first race is already scheduled for May 2009.  

camryaction2007.jpgBut I digress.  For us regular folks, who just need to get to work in the morning and for whatever reason can’t take public transport or a bicycle or oxcart, there are a growing number of greenish automobiles available — or at least green by comparison with most of the monstrosities we see on the road these days.  Even if they don’t grow bean sprouts on the exterior.  Prius has some competition.

Here’s the deal. The Green Car Journal‘s picks for top five green cars of 2007, in alphabetical order, are (May I have the envelope, please?):

2007 HONDA CIVIC GX
2007 LEXUS GS 450 HYBRID
2007 MERCEDES-BENZ E320 BLUETEC
2007 SATURN VUE GREEN LINE HYBRID
2007 TOYOTA CAMRY HYBRID (pictured above)

Base MSRP’s for these models run from about $23-55K. Pricier than a bike, admittedly. But probably cheaper than a hummer.  And think of the good karma dividend.

Some other good sources of info on green personal transport are Environmental Defense, the Green Car Ratings from Yahoo Autos, and for those in the UK, Clean Green Cars.  And if the gas-electric hybrid isn’t progressive enough for you, you can hack your Prius and plug it into your wall socket.  Of course, it wil still use electricity generated, in most cases, by fossil fuel.  But you can fix that with high-efficiency solar panels on the roof and a windmill in the backyard . . . 

About Emmett Duffy

I am a Natural Patriot and an ecologist with expertise in biodiversity and its importance to human society. My day job is Professor of Marine Science at the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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