is ready to hit the road. The painter-turned-car-salesman for Cox
Toyota of Burlington is excited about the Toyota
Prius. Prius, Latin for "go before," is Toyota's little
gas-electric hybrid car with big possibilities.
As Carlos talks
about the car's features, his face lights up as he shares the fact
that, "When you paint a 500-square-foot room, you produce more
smog-forming emissions than driving [the Prius] for 150,000 miles."
You might be
surprised that such an efficient and highly technological vehicle
could also be so affordable. The Prius's base MSRP is $20,000, and
when you add luxury features such as a navigation system, the price
rises to $28,000.
the car is best suited to those who do most of their driving in
the city. Why? Well the battery is used more in the slow-speed driving
done around city streets, and the battery is charged every time
you brake, giving you up to 65 miles to the gallon. Even
on the interstate the car is efficient, logging up to 55 miles per
If the station
wagon-y appearance of the Prius doesn't interest you, don't worry,
Toyota plans to offer all of its vehicles in hybrid form by the
year 2010, making gas-only the option, and hybrid the standard.
as a company is making big changes to more than its cars. Currently
the company's Kentucky plant has reduced its landfill waste by 95
percent, with the other five percent of waste being recycled.
ideas for cleaner vehicles and enterprise should make Anne Tazewell
of the North
Carolina Solar Center, and North
Carolina State University happy. Anne, who also serves on the
Triangle Clean Cities coalition, says that, "the vision of
clean cities is to reduce our dependency on petroleum."
want to put all of your eggs in one basket," she says, "and
that's what we've done with oil."
Among the alternative
fuel types available for vehicles today is biodiesel, a renewable
fuel made from soy oil, cooking oil and animal fats. The non-toxic,
biodegradable fuel can be used in any diesel engine with no conversion
whatsoever. It is currently available at three service stations
in the Triangle area.
Both Anne and
Carlos were part of Elon University's fourth annual environmental
conference, "Roadmap to the Future: Tomorrow by Design."
The conference offered a day's worth of events, including presentations
by David Orr and Stuart Hart, both well known among environmental
activists for their work on the idea of sustainability.
had the opportunity to eat food prepared by Aramark Food Service
chefs that had been locally grown on organic farms. A film festival
and afternoon discussion panels rounded out the event.