Monday, January 14, 2008

Morning Commute!

Thoughts from a near-empty Ford Explorer on a crawling exit ramp...

Zipcar continues to thrive (180,000 members) and act like a real business (merged with Flexcar.) This will never work for the huge portion on non-urban Americans but there's absolutely no reason it shouldn't continue to get huge in cities.

Velo-Commuter reports disturbing facts about the drain of commuting on our economy (I'm sure some of our largest companies (Exxon) would argue that it's such a drain.))

I was also thinking about incremental improvements in alternative transportation. I am, after all, still driving the Explorer, and thinking, "Big Deal!" when it comes to today's lineup of marginally better hybrid fuel efficiencies. But I thought back to Niel Golightly, green transportation evangelist at Ford (and possessor of maybe the BEST name in the entire Green world...As in Go Lightly Upon the Earth, Young Man!) I heard him speak at the 2006 LOHAS conference, and his message was about the steps along the way to the end result we all want.

As an example, he responded around the same time to a question from about whether Ford's hybrid efforts were "deck chairs on the Titanic." His response:

Hey guys, give me a break! This is huge -- in impact, investment, and strategic commitment. A quarter million hybrids is our plan today, but...we're not likely to sit on our thumbs as the segment continues to grow.

For those of us arm-chair quarterbacking the green transportation revolution, let's at least remember to embrace the incremental improvements along the way. A few more MPGs, a few less cars off the road, a little more conscience, and I'd be off this exit ramp a few seconds quicker...and probably wouldn't be driving the Explorer!

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