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500 miles

If some clever scientists have their way, the type of fuel your car uses may not be the only thing that can reduce the impact that driving has on the environment.

Standard sat-nav systems give you the choice of fastest route or shortest route.  Cleverer systems than the one I have will also re-route you automatically based on traffic data.

The sat-nav system Eva Ericsson at the Lund Institute of Technology in Sweden has been testing takes all that a step further by working out the most efficient route.  In essence, it takes into account a wider set of data including fuel consumption, the width of a street, its speed limit and typical traffic flows.

The limited testing performed so far has shown an 8.2 per cent saving on fuel compared to the more traditional routing methods, although it's reckoned the final saving would be more like 4 per cent.

Not a massive saving but every little helps and there's little effort required on behalf of the driver other than follow the directions.  (Presumably they'll have ironed out the kind of glitches that leads (very stupid sheep-like) people to drive into rivers.)

More transport and travel

Satnav gives directions for a greener route [via the excellent Inkycircus]

car {more than just a rusty car}

The End of Life Vehicles Directive came into force yesterday.  If you've got a car to scrap, it means you don't have to pay for someone to take it off your hands any more since manufacturers are now responsible for it.

The idea is that fewer cars are scrapped since the car companies have to fork out for it, although in my still-recovering-from-seeing-in-the-New-Year state, I'm struggling to work out why making it easier for people to get rid of cars should reduce the numbers being scrapped.  I think it might be something to do with setting targets to recycle parts rather than crush and dump them.

Predictably, the car companies are squealing.  The Guardian's report said the companies reckoned the law would "bankrupt them" but I'm sure some clever bean-counter in Chelsea-Tractors-R-Us HQ will find a way of passing the costs back onto the consumer.

Car companies pick up costs of scrapping and recycling [The Guardian]

Related stories: Cows hurt environment more than cars | Carrentals.co.uk | HUMMER O2 makes its own oxygen

Photo credit: car {more than just a rusty car} by R@punseLL used under the Creative Commons Attribution Licence

Obvio_sideview

For only $28,000 USD, the Obvio Tribrid Sports Car sure looks pretty.  'Tribrid' refers to that it runs on any mix of petrol plus ethanol, or natural compressed gas (NCG).  Seats three and gets 12.5km/liter, which is not especially impressive for a typical high-efficiency vehicle, but when one factors that sports cars tend to get between 3-5km/liter... Also, when using straight petrol, the fuel efficiency improves by about 10% (as do, one expects, the emissions).  It can optionally available with an electric battery good for 300-500km per charge, and taking 5 hours to achieve full capacity.  The electric version is $59,000 USD, which makes it slightly more practical than the Tesla Roadster.  [GT]

Obvio! 012 tribrid sports car [via Gizmodo]

Related stories: Tesla Roadster: sexiest electric car ever? | Venturi Eclectic: An "Energy-Autonomous" Vehicle | HUMMER 02 makes its own oxygen

Pink21

It's getting easier all the time to bypass having an actual automobile, given bicycle options like the Bluevelo enclosed bicycle, Specialbike custom rebuilt bike or Bike Friday folding bike. Or, if you want something that gives you a little more torque in the morning, you could pick up a EVT 168 electric scooter or eGo Helio rechargable moped. The Solarin turtle, being solar powered, is especially interesting. Also, the problems of storing a bike in the flat are addressed by the Cycloc wall-mount system, and outside the flat by the solar-powered Bike Tree. Then with rental car services like Green Tomato and Cheap Car Hire, you can have one when you need it, and stay fit and trim (and green) the rest of the time. [GT]

Original stories: Bluevelo enclosed bicycles | Don't bin your wheels: make them a specialbike | Bike Friday folding bicycles | EVT 168 electric scooter | eGo Helio rechargable moped | Solarin Turtle solar powered scooter | Hire a Green Tomato Car | Carrentals.co.uk | Free your floor space! With the Cycloc | Bike Tree is a solar-powered place for your wheels

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Hippyshopper turned up a dozen or so ethical travel destinations, but really, if you want to know green places to go, The Ethical Travel Guide is your best bet.  Providing options for every price range, taste and level of relaxation (want to volunteer?  want to be pampered?), with this book you've got no excuse for going with a standard sunny beach and all-inclusive resort or cruise ship.  You can find relaxation of any type since 2006, at a fair rate, in a context that leaves your beauty spot more beautiful than when you arrived. But if you want to know the Hippyshopper fave ethical travel sites: VegiVentures, Fordhall Farm and Penrhos Court all score high on the hippymeter.  If you've traveled already, you can help out UNICEF by posting your travel reviews at Chicken & Egg.  [GT]

Original stories: The Ethical Travel Guide | Share your travel knowledge online and help UNICEF | Have a VegiVentures Christmas | Penrhos Court | Fordhall Farm

Carrentals.co.uk

Carrentals

Why own a car?  Through companies like Cheap Car Hire you can pick one up whenever you need one, then send it back when you're done.  No using it when you really don't need to, no horrors of trying to find parking, no leaving petrol lying around to rot in your tank when you do abstain from driving.  (You did know petrol decays, right?)  Not only that, but they have vehicles available everywhere from Alicante to Tenerife.  How?  They pool results from all major car companies online, then give you the cheapest-best offers.  Book online (rather than via phone) to get extra discounts of up to 30%.  [GT]

Cheap Car Hire [via EcoStreet]

Related stories: Tesla Roadster: sexiest electric car ever? | Hire a Green Tomato car | Plug in your PHEV for 100mpg

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If you particularly want a wash every day, even when you're in the woods or hanging at Glastonbury, you may think you're stuck staying at a hotel instead of roughing it under the stars.  Hippy gadgets to the rescue!  Maplin's portable shower (one of the many nifty Maplin eco-gadgets) plugs into your car adapter to heat up the water stored in the jug, so you can be gloriously hair-slicked and content but still frolic with Nature the other 97% of the time. [GT]

Original stories: Maplin Electronic Portable Shower | Top 5 eco-presents from Maplin

Unicefthumb

It's not too often that you can save a child's life by relating your trip to Bournemouth, but at Chicken & Egg they're donating €0.10 to UNICEF for every validated travel review. You add your reviews, and socially connect with others who are doing theirs, to help build a web of trustworthiness on places to go on hols and how to get there. And wouldn't you like to be paid (in essence) to debunk that awful place in Brighton where they thought you were a llama and set you up with a goat? But I digress from the life-saving part: 10c is enough to provide oral re-hydration salts which are genuinely necessary for children in advanced stages of dehydration. So that story you have could really do the trick, thanks. [GT]

Chicken & Egg travel [via Tech Digest]

Related stories: The Ethical Travel Guide | Travel in (eco) style | Jamble magazine: travel. music. environment.

Prius

Green services grew ever more common in 2006, such as the car hire offered by Green Tomato cars.  They give you a Prius hybrid for the same price as a conventional vehicle.  They figure that although the cars cost more up front, the operating costs, such as petrol, make them a long-term winner - not to mention they stand out from the competition in a tight field.  We'd never recommend you leave your driver idling, but if so, at least make sure it's puffing less than smoke.  [GT]

Original story: Hire a Green Tomato car

Yobykeevscooter_small

Whether riding a Yo Byke by INDUS will make you look like a character from Samurai Jack is between you and Aku, but you can test it easily enough by booking a test drive (should they be available in your area; all the corporate contacts listed are in India.) The bike, which is not unlike a cartoony version of a Vespa, sports a rechargeable battery and quick charger, and pointedly lacks a petrol tank. Available in yellow, red, blue, silver and black with a top speed of 25km, range of 75km and charge time of 6-8 hours. [GT]

Yo Byke by INDUS [via Red Ferret]

Related stories: eGo Helio rechargable moped | EVT 168 retro electric scooter | Bluevelo enclosed bicycles

HUMMER_O2.jpg

I never thought I'd be praising the eco-savviness of anything named "Hummer", but the Hummer 02 converts carbon dioxide into oxygen using algae-filled side panels. Since the algae are getting a megadose of sunlight (where they're usually submerged underwater) they get to work overtime kicking out the good stuff. It also looks kind of like a lunar landing dune buggy, where you would want all the extra O2 you could get. [GT]

HUMMER O2 - The Breathing Car

Related stories: Tesla Roadster: sexiest electric car ever? | Venturi Eclectic: An "Energy-Autonomous" Vehicle | ZAP Xebra PK Electric Vehicle

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Picture it: a fireapple red convertible two-seater Tesla Roadster with - well, you don't have to picture it, it's pictured above. What you don't see is: it's electric, but it can still crank up to oh-my-god-we're-going-to-die speed in four seconds. It will also go 400km on a single charge (and quick-charge up enough to go 120km after only one hour plugged into the mains) and cost only ha'penny for each of those kilometers. Another thing you don't see? It's silky silent, since it doesn't have that petrol-sucking torque engine shoving it along. Price is a mere $100,000 USD (and sold out already since they only made 100), but that's not bad considering the much less sexy 120-M.P.H. Electric Car costs the same.  [GT]

It's Electric!  The Tesla Roadster—a hotshot sports car that runs on batteries.

Related stories: Venturi Eclectic: An "Energy-Autonomous" Vehicle | ZAP Xebra PK Electric Vehicle | Plug in your PHEV for 100mpg

Venturi_car

The eclectic part of the Venturi Eclectic (alas, still in the concept stages) refers to how it automatically fuels itself. A catholic consumer of whatever solar or wind (or, if need be, mains) power happens to be handy, it's naturally intended as a commuter vehicle rather than one for the M5 (but how much petrol do you buy simply for work, versus how much you buy for trips to the country?). While, as I said, it's still in the concept stages, the mini-wind-turbines are quite a mature technology now so attaching one to an electric car is a natural fit. [GT]

Venturi Eclectic [via SciFi Tech]

Related stories: ZAP Xebra PK Electric Vehicle | Plug in your PHEV for 100mpg | Fiat Panda puts Osama out of work?

Xebra-PK-Main.jpg

Reminding one of the little blue car frequently tipped over by Mr Bean, one of the exciting things about the $120,000 variety we've seen before. It's sized for two, and has a little flatbed on the back suitable for a reasonable amount of cargo - considering it's classed as a motorcycle and doesn't go fast enough for highway use. However, as a commuter vehicle it makes a good alternative in stop-and-go traffic, and is optionally solar-powered. Goes 65 km per charge and is powered by a standard mains plug. [GT]

FiveLimes]

Related stories: The 120-M.P.H. Electric Car (with the predictable price tag) | Retro electric scooter | eGo Helio rechargable moped

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You may never have been in the situation of trying to have prescriptions delivered to you in a foreign country, but let me assure you, it's nerve-wracking and loaded with arbitrary paperwork.  So imagine if you were trying to deliver needed medical supplies to hundreds, maybe thousands of people - the P + P charges alone can swamp you!  Not Just Tourists is a new project addressing this problem one suitcase at a time.  If you're going to a developing country, or Cuba, and haven't hit your baggage limit, you can sign up to take a pre-packed bag of medical supplies with you.  Antibiotics are the most desperately needed (and they never send narcotics or other controlled substances) but if you're not comfortable transporting drugs at all, you can take crutches, splints, even just bandages.  "Taking medical supplies to the people of Cuba enriched a very enjoyable vacation for Diane and I. We would do it again in a heartbeat."  For more information, visit NotJustTourists.org.  (And if you make it a Treeflight also, and heaven exists, you're sure to go there when the time comes.)  [GT]

NotJustTourists.org

Related stories: Spread the net: ten bucks, one net, save lives | Throwplace takes what you don't want | Make it a Treeflight

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