Environment Forum

Economy leaves consumers feeling more blue than green

Has the global economic crisis got you feeling more blue than green? If so, you’re not alone.

U.S. consumers are pulling back spending on everything, and carbon-cutting products like hybrid cars and solar panels are no exception. After all, being green often requires us to pony up big chunks of change with the promise of cost savings later. That pitch, according to many green business owners, isn’t working so well these days.

“People are so scared about the future that they don’t want to commit to paybacks that have too long a window,” said Alan Finkel, owner of Santa Monica-based Green Life Guru, a company that helps homeowners reduce their gas and electricity usage.

A sharp drop in oil prices since this summer hasn’t helped the trend. After all, who needs a hybrid car when fill-ups cost less than $20 a pop?

Of course, there are ways to be green without spending money. We can drive less, recycle more, and resist the urge to crank up the thermostat.

What bailout? Automakers lay out green future at L.A. show

 The car is king in Southern California, so what better place for stressed out auto executives to blow off some steam and take a break from their considerable recent troubles?

That’s exactly what they did this week at the Los Angeles auto show, where many car manufacturers laid out plans for electric, fuel cell and diesel cars that they say are key to reviving the ailing industry.

Volkswagen’s clean diesel Jetta TDI made the biggest splash, taking home the coveted “Green Car of the Year” award. It was the first time a diesel car has taken home the industry’s top environmental prize.

  •