Fuel Efficiency Driving Onshoring | Roland Hwang’s Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC

Fuel Efficiency Driving Onshoring | Roland Hwang’s Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC.

Lost in the current debate about “offshoring” is the remarkable story of the “onshoring” of fuel-efficiency manufacturing.  Thanks in large part to stronger standards, American drivers no longer have to buy foreign if they want to trade in their gas guzzler for gas sippers. Fuel-efficiency is driving sales and jobs growth in the auto industry.  And as demand grows, so does the business case to make fuel efficient cars and components in America.

Hybrid productions exemplify this trend.  With U.S. hybrid sales booming (up 63% this year), Toyota and Honda are bringing production to the U.S.  Most recently, Honda Motor Co. plans to invest $40 million and bring all global Civic Hybrid manufacturing to its Greensburg, Indiana manufacturing plant from Japan, creating 300 jobs by the end of the year.

Earlier this year, Toyota announced it would bring production of its Highlander mid-size SUV, including the Highlander Hybrid, to its Princeton, Indiana plant from its current plant in Japan.  The move to expand capacity represents an investment of $400 million and will add another 400 jobs.  Furthermore, Toyota plans to begin producing the Prius hybrid in the U.S. by 2015, bringing production inshore from Japan to a yet-to-be specified plant.

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Friday: Hybrid Cars

Welcome to our first Make-A-Difference Friday, the day we talk about something big that you can do to make a difference. Today, Casi Callaway,  Executive Director of Mobile Baykeeper, talks about her decision to buy a hybrid car when the time came to replace their family vehicle.

The Baykeepermobile

Casi's Hybrid Camry

My favorite “Aha!” moment actually came when a group of girl friends came over for Bunco and saw my home recycling station.  My friend Mary grabbed my arm and said, “You actually live what you say.”  It never occurred to me that I lived my life any differently than anyone else.  I guess I should have known, but getting involved in environmental protection at age 19 actually changed my behavior.  Make-a-Difference Month is about encouraging everyone – YOU – to look at your life and pick up and do something small, medium or large to make a difference, change something in your life.

When my husband and I went to buy a new car in March 2008, with a four-month-old baby boy, an SUV was not remotely on the radar.  We knew we had to start at Toyota and at least try the Prius. I knew it cost more money up front to buy the latest environmentally-friendly car and I was a little worried that maintenance would be an issue, but mostly I knew it wasn’t a question – it was simply which hybrid.

I have to be honest and say the 2007 Prius felt a little too much like the tiny car I drove in high school.  The Camry Hybrid made me feel like a grown up driving essentially a regular sedan. Driving the Hybrid made me sure I was driving a car that truly made a difference in the world.  I purchase gas every two to three weeks and even with the present outrageous prices, my 12-gallon tank hasn’t exceeded $50.

A fun tidbit I have to admit — I LOVE that my car is so quiet I can sneak up on folks.

Now that we’re in 2012, the options are vast!  There are SUVs, large very fancy sedans, or smaller Leafs, grown up Priuses and the all-electric Volt.  If you’re shopping for a car, spend a little time researching, spend a little more up front and save a over the long term both in gas and for the environment.

Make a BIG Difference with this big choice, because it’s the best choice for our future.

Here are a few leads for researching a Hybrid Car:

http://www.howstuffworks.com/hybrid-car.htm

http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/hybrids.jsp

http://buyersguide.caranddriver.com/budget-green/hybrid

From EPA’s Website — Fuel Economy Guide

The Fuel Economy Guide is an annual publication containing the fuel economy estimates for all cars and light trucks. The guide includes much more information than appears on the window sticker alone. It includes information about alternative fueled vehicles, the range of fuel economy for different classes of vehicles, a list of fuel economy leaders, and tips for improving fuel economy. The guide is published jointly by the Department of Energy and EPA. Additionally, EPA publishes lists of the vehicle models with the highest and lowest fuel economy estimates every year. Below are the lists for the 2012 model year Fuel Economy Guide.

Locally, you should check out Bay Chevrolet and the Volt, Springhill Toyota (a supporter of the Grandman Triathlon).

Additional local dealerships: Eastern Shore Toyota, Tameron Honda, Treadwell Honda, Lexus of Mobile, Pat Peck Nissan, Chris Myers Nissan and many more!

We know that the decision to purchase a hybrid car is a big one. Share your thoughts, concerns, or your reasons for going with a hybrid in comments below. Or, if you already drive a hybrid or electric car, share your story with us! Why do you drive a hybrid and why do you like it?

Together we can make a difference!