by Martha Hindes
long ago that many people dismissed the idea of earth
friendly vehicles as too futuristic. That was before
the advent of global warming weather worries, soaring
gasoline prices, and Cameron Diaz. She's one of the
Hollywood celebrities who adopted the "green"
vehicle mantel launched by actor Ed Begley, Jr. some
20 years ago by driving GM's experimental EV1 electric
car. Fast forward to $3-plus gasoline, large SUVs sitting
immobile in driveways and fuel price impacted wallets
growing skinnier every day and the whole picture must
have the folks at Mother Earth News chuckling in their
organic brown rice.
glorious and glamorous trucking around in hybrids -
like Diaz or Leonardo DeCaprio in a Toyota Prius - was
bound to be noticed. Suddenly it's okay to travel conservatively
instead of with gluttonous abandon. And as consumers
search for more fuel efficient wheels, auto makers are
scrambling to get green cars to market. So far, gas-electric
hybrid vehicles, led by Toyota and Honda who sell them
at home in Japan, have been getting lots of attention.
Ford brought out the first populist earth-pampering
sport utility, the hybrid Escape -- now also trucking
around Manhattan as environmentally friendly taxis.
But DaimlerChrysler has a minivan that runs on ethanol,
and GM blitzes TV viewers with "flex-fuel"
ads for its nine car and truck lines that can switch
seamlessly from gasoline to biofuels made from corn
or other plants. Country singer Willie Nelson has jumped
on board to push biofuel for vehicles. One internet
site details how to convert a Mercedes-Benz diesel auto
to run on recycled vegetable oil, that theoretically
could leave the scent of French fries wafting in its
wake. (And none of the above require plugging into a
power outlet overnight.)
those whose green thumbs are aimed at earth friendly
ignition switches, and who don't mind at times paying
a premium even with some tax credits, we offer the following
array of available green vehicles to choose from. And
if these aren't enough, just wait until next year.