The Green Cars Manifesto No One Asked For

For the better part of a decade — call it 2008-2018 — most of my contributions to CleanTechnica “corporate” came through Gas2. Gas2, for those of you that never read it, had two taglines over the years. An official one, that was: “Gas 2.0: the future of fuel,” and an unofficial one that was a bit more nuanced: “Green cars that don’t suck.”

Granted, that’s a bit vague. Still, I think that can sum it up pretty nicely by sharing a little exchange I had with someone at about the Ford C-Max. At the time, Ford was involved in a bit of drama surrounding the car’s stated fuel economy, and my fellow journalist asked me how Gas2 would be covering the “scandalous” story.

“We probably won’t talk about it all,” I answered. “Because the C-Max sucks.”

Ford C-Max Hybrid

Image courtesy Ford.

Nearly ten years on, I still stand by that statement. On its best day, the C-Max was styled like some sort of space egg, was way too tall to be sporty or nimble, and tried so very, very hard to sell itself on the merits of efficiency and logic. And, don’t get me wrong, it was efficient and logical … but this is America, and we don’t buy vehicles based on efficiency. (If you don’t believe me, count how many pickups you see on the road with empty beds the next time you drive anywhere.)

Why am I talking about all this? Because I recently stumbled across Gas2’s “About Us” page on an old backup drive, and I felt like it could use a bit of an update (especially since, you know, Gas2 doesn’t really exist anymore). So, here it is Gas2’s Jo Borrás personal green car manifesto. Enjoy!

Green Cars That Don’t Suck

Image courtesy Everatti.

I believe that hugging trees and burning rubber (it’s fine, that’s been debunked) can coexist. When I read about a car, I want to talk about 60′ and 1/4 mile times, custom builds, four-wheel drifts, all while — of course — having a planet that we can do those things on. Most importantly, I think, is that I want to show the enthusiast community — the “gearheads” and hot-rodders — that green cars don’t suck.

There’s a bit more to me than that, of course — if only just. I like to think that I can hold on to a few beliefs here. Nothing hard and fast and absolute. Just generally speaking, you know? And I like to think that my 25-year history in the automotive world would bear out some of the following:

  • THE FUTURE PRESENT IS ELECTRIC — My automotive journalism career was born right as the ’08 housing bubble burst and the global economy tanked. At the time, it felt like there were a number of ways things could have gone, and a biofuel future felt just as likely as a hydrogen or battery future – but the electrics won. The electrics won, and it’s awesome, because that soccer mom in the electric Kia crossover can rip off 12-second 1/4 mile passes any time, day or night!
  • THE BEST WAY TO APPRECIATE NATURE IS TO GET OUT INTO IT — Longtime readers have probably seen that line a few times by now, and I still stand by it. I believe that a love of nature is, and should be, at the core of environmental conservation efforts. That love, more than a fear of nature’s wrath in the form of wildfires, hurricanes, and deadly heat waves is what is going to motivate people to make the right environmental choices. As such, I want to encourage people to go visit America’s national parks, Europe’s mountain passes, Australia’s coral reefs, and Costa Rica’s cloud forests — and I want to cover RVs, ATVs, dirtbikes, personal watercraft, and cool camping rigs because these things make the outdoors more fun, more accessible, and more inclusive.
  • TWO WHEELS ARE BETTER THAN FOUR — Whether we’re talking about motorcycles, mopeds, or bicycles, bikes require fewer raw materials to build, operate, and maintain than cars. That’s just physics. When nearly three out of four vehicles in the US spend most of their time carrying a single occupant (or, worse: parked!), making the switch to bikes is just a good idea — and a lot more fun!
  • THE GREENEST CAR YOU CAN BUY IS ONE THAT’S ALREADY BEEN BUILT / WE WON’T CONSUME OUR WAY OUT OF THIS — Regardless of the fuel you run it on, building a new car takes literally tons of raw materials. Those materials need to be mined, refined, transported, processed, machined, then transported a few more times, and probably painted for good measure. Scrapping a car that gets 25 MPG in order to drive an EV isn’t going to offset those carbon emissions for years. What does that mean? It means that, if what you’re really trying to is reduce carbon emissions, so you might want to think about keeping the car you’ve got on the road a bit longer (if not a lot longer!). When it comes to custom builds, I want celebrate people and projects that reduce waste, reuse materials, and recycle parts as they can while they try to bring something that’s new, but not entirely new, to life.
  • INTERNAL COMBUSTION ISN’T DEAD, YET — Remember that thing about the electrics winning? Well, the internal combustion engine will still be relevant for a few more years,  and it’s not entirely out of tricks yet. What’s more, ignoring the advantages ICE does have in terms of energy density, infrastructure, and market support won’t make it go away any faster. As such, I plan to celebrate real improvements as they come, because better is better, and I don’t want to make perfection the enemy of progress.

That’s about all I’ve got.

If you’ve read this far, then maybe you like what you’ve read and want to read some more. That’s cool, and I hope you visit CleanTechnica – and comment! – often. So, until the next post hits, I’d like to invite you to sign up for one of our newsletters, check out the CleanTech Talk podcast, and stop by our YouTube page now and then. 

Finally, I’m far from the only person writing about EVs here on CleanTechnica. If you hated what you just read and you’re an EV maximalist: that’s great! Anything that helps move the needle, and you can read more from great writers like Steve Hanley, Carolyn Fortuna, Jennifer Sensiba, Tina Casey, and (of course) the great Zachary Shahan.

Original content from Gas2 CleanTechnica.



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