Many car companies are going 'green'

If you're trying to get attention for cars billed as "earth friendly," Earth Day is probably a good time to do it.

Ford brought its new Fusion hybrid to the beach in Santa Monica. The car has a high MPG rating and a low carbon footprint. It's even partially made of recycled material.

"Although our EPA certification is 41, you can see it as high as 45-50. So the car is very capable. At the end of the day the maximum fuel economy and more recycled content in the vehicle is great for our planet," said Praveen Charien, Ford spokesman.

They also invited members of the group Heal the Bay to sample the new hybrid. Many were impressed with the Fusion's eco-technology, even if its $27,000 price tag means it might take a while for the fuel savings to pay off.

"Long-term, we should probably be thinking of things to get into to change our lifestyle. I think that includes cars so maybe more people are opening their minds to having a hybrid," said Erin Foley, a member of Heal the Bay.

The Fusion hybrid has gotten some technology to help it be "green." If you drive the car little green leaves appear on the instrument cluster.

Ford's probably also hoping it'll put some much-needed green into their depleted bank accounts.

Meanwhile in Anaheim, early adopters of green motoring came from far and wide with their first-generation Honda Insight hybrids. A car that was launched in the 2000 model year as an ultimate example of fuel efficiency.

"Got 84 mpg on the run from San Francisco to Los Angeles," said Dick Bojak, a Honda owner.

One Insight was driven here from Delaware, another from Florida using very few gallons of gas.

Honda staged the event to show off its new Insight, a much larger car that still manages about 45 MPG and is relatively affordable at around $20,000.

Hybrids account for only a small fraction of the vehicles on the road. But on Earth Day, these eco-conscious cars get to be the kings of the road.

Web Extra Information: Fuel Saving Tips

  • Slow down: Move with the flow of traffic and obey the posted speed limit
  • Change lead foot to light foot: Accelerate smoothly from a stop, keep engine speed under 2,000 RPM and brake gradually
  • Relax: Aggressive driving and weaving in and out of traffic wastes fuel and wears out components
  • Check your tires monthly: Use the manufacturer recommended tires and keep them properly inflated to the recommended pressure
  • No idling: Turn your engine off when sitting in a parking lot, in line at the drive-thru or waiting at the car wash
  • Travel light: Avoid piling luggage on the roof rack or storing heavy items in the trunk
  • Always aerodynamic: Close the windows when driving over 50 mph
  • Be a maintenance maniac: Keep the engine tuned and the wheels aligned to maximize fuel efficiency
  • Let your vehicle breathe easy: Replace air filters as recommended
  • Choose the right oil: Use good quality oils of the type and viscosity recommended in the owners guide
  • Use cruise control: This helps maintain speeds on the highway and conserves fuel
  • Minimize use of heater and air conditioning: Use the vent setting whenever possible and comfortable to do so
  • Consolidate trips: Plan ahead to combine your errands and cut down on your miles on the road



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