It’s easy to remember, when you’re at the car dealer or the grocery store, that we vote green with our wallets every day. Organic strawberries v. conventional, hybrid v. SUV; these are green decision-making arenas we know well. But how about the last time you chose an auto club? Were you thinking green then?
If not, well now you can. We just found out about Better World Club, an environmentally friendly alternative to AAA (which was exposed in Harper's, in 2002, for having lobbied for highways and against the 1990 Clean Air Act), that offers nationwide roadside emergency assistance, auto insurance, travel and eco-travel services, free maps, discounts on hotels and car rentals, and even discounts on hybrids and eco-friendly lodging.
Better World has the only bicycle roadside assistance program in the nation. Buy airline tickets through them, and they’ll give you free carbon offsets. The club donates 1 percent of its revenue to environmental cleanup and advocacy, and its hilarious newsletter, Kicking Asphalt, includes great auto tips, industry news, and headers like “Take Care Of Your Tires. After All, They’d Do The Same For You If They Were Sentient and Had Opposable Thumbs.”
BWC has even gotten shout-outs from NPR’s Car Talk. Here’s what co-host Tom Magliozzi has to say: “We're signing up immediately. We had no idea that part of our AAA dues were being spent on lobbyists who oppose just about everything having to do with public transportation. If AAA thinks that it's a good idea for every single person to get to work in 3000 pounds of iron, we sure don't want to help support such a silly idea. Cars stink. Everybody knows that."
Story by Tobin Hack. This article originally appeared in Plenty in May 2007. This story was added to MNN.com in July 2009.