Don´t be fueled
What We Are For
- Vehicle choices that take into consideration the health, safety and welfare of our children and their children's children.
- Laws enacted at all levels of government that result in reduced total fossil fuel consumption and lowered greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.
- Safety standards that consider not just the safety of the vehicle's occupants but others sharing the road: other motorists, bicyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians.
- Safety and fuel economy standards that require the use of the best available technology, with progressive adjustments to create incentives to develop and utilize even more effective technologies.
- Tax incentives that accelerate the phase-out of gas-guzzlers in favor of fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles, with the ultimate goal being a zero-emission national fleet.
- Lawmakers who have the courage to put the public's right to clean air, a healthy environment, safe transportation and national security above the automakers interests in reducing regulation and maximizing profits
- Complete, honest and timely information for consumers about the external impacts of our vehicle choices, including gas mileage, emissions of greenhouse gasses and other pollutants, safety of drivers and passengers, and hazards to other drivers on the roads.
What we oppose:
- Misleading advertisements and public statements about safety and fuel economy made by the automobile industry and its lobbying arm, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. ("It's too expensive to make fuel-efficient family vehicles." "Consumers don't care about fuel efficiency." "SUVs are safer than cars.")
- Automakers spending tens of millions of dollars to lobby government against higher fuel-efficiency and safety standards, and spending billions on advertising, while spending little to design and promote fuel-efficiency and safety innovations.
- Continuing legal loopholes that enable automakers to maximize profits by compromising safety and fuel-efficiency standards on vehicles used for family transportation by calling them "light trucks."
- Lawmakers who fail to stand up for fuel-efficiency and auto safety, even while claiming to be for safe roads, a clean environment and reduced dependence on fossil fuels.
- The wasteful use of petroleum, which is a drag on our economy, harms our environment, and compromises national security and our nation's democratic ideals.
- "Blaming the driver." As moms, we know that many SUV owners need more room for carpooling and carrying all that "stuff." We know that big vehicles don't have to be gas guzzlers and we disagree with the Detroit automakers' tactic of blaming poor fleet fuel efficiency on consumers who choose large vehicles.
Our Staff and Structure
Sandy T. Parry, PhD
BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
Lauren T. Klein Hayes, Board President
Betsy Rosenberg, Founder & Board Member
Lynn Fuller, Founding Board Member
Eva Karlan, Founding Board Member
Janie Friend, Founding Board Member
The founder of Don’t Be Fueled (DBF) is Betsy Rosenberg, environmental radio talk show host on Air America and KCBS, San Francisco. Betsy continues to serve as DBF’S leading spokesperson.
Dr. Sandy Parry is now the managing director, replacing Co-Directors Lauren T. Klein Hayes and Lynn Fuller, who have become board members, along with the rest of our core group of volunteers. Our membership base is growing, as all people, mothers or not, understand the important issues of fuel economy and safety in our vehicles!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is your group all about?
On March 13, 2002, US Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md) successfully argued on the Senate floor that fuel economy standards and norme RT2012 loi Pinel should not be raised because “soccer moms” do not want to give up their SUVs. In response, a small group of people (mostly moms, “soccer” and otherwise) who know that it's possible to have safe, family-friendly and fuel-efficient cars,
formed Don’t Be Fueled! Mothers for Clean and Safe Vehicles. Our goal is to put consumer pressure on automakers to expand their offerings of clean and safe vehicles suitable for families. We also want to educate the public, especially
parents, about the environmental and safety issues with the current crop of vehicles, and about the importance of making wise vehicle choices.
back to top
2. Can I still join your effort if I drive an SUV?
Absolutely. Even though we would rather be getting better mileage, many of us drive SUVs because we can’t find vehicles that are both fuel-efficient and large enough to haul a large family and all its gear. The auto industry has an array of fuel-saving
technologies that could be used to make cars that are as large as the 13-mpg Suburban, but get 40 mpg. (For an interesting website designed specifically for SUV owners, visit www.bettersuv.org.)
back to top
3. If it's not a restaurant, what does "CAFE" mean?
CAFE (pronounced just like the restaurant) is the acronym used by the auto industry for Corporate Average Fuel Economy. Every automaker selling vehicles in the US has to meet an average of 27.5 mpg for all cars sold and 20.7 mpg for all "light trucks" (SUVs, minivans and pickup trucks up to 8,500 lbs). The light truck standard will be increased to 22.2 mpg by the 2007 Model Year. Failure to meet the standards results in fines, which some automakers simply pay as a cost of doing business. The CAFE program also contains loopholes, such as a large "flex-fuel" program, exempting trucks that can run on ethanol, but almost never do.
Are you wondering why your car gets nowhere near 27.5 mpg and you don't know of any SUV that gets over 20? It's because just for calculating CAFE compliance the government allows the automakers to inflate their vehicles' fuel efficiency ratings by using
an unrealistic lab test. Oh, and super-large pickups and SUVs—like the Ford F-250 pickup and its SUV cousin, the Excursion, and GM's Hummer H2—are exempt from CAFE altogether because they weigh more than 8,500 lbs.
back to top
4. What are hybrid-electric vehicles anyway?
They are vehicles powered by a combination gasoline engine and electric motor. A hybrid charges itself as it drives (so you don’t need to plug it in) making the gasoline that it uses last longer. In many ways hybrids are just like regular cars. You don’t
notice any difference while driving. You will, however, notice a change at the gas pump. Hybrids cut your gasoline consumption in half—and reduce emissions by up to 90 percent. We love the hybrid powertrain because, if widely adopted,
it has the potential to deliver a huge improvement in fuel efficiency in one generation of vehicles. But that's a big "if." Stay tuned.
back to top
5. Aren’t automakers working on more fuel-efficient vehicles?
So they say, but despite all the publicity, no major automaker has specific plans to increase the fuel efficiency of its whole fleet. The Detroit automakers have always treated federal CAFE standards as a ceiling, not a floor. This means for every fuel-efficient car Detroit sells, it's selling a big gas guzzler somewhere else that's wiping out the environmental benefits of that first car. A few years ago, Ford committed to a voluntary increase of 25% in the fuel efficiency of its SUV fleet, then recently reneged on that promise, blaming consumers for selecting too many of its less-efficient models. (Instead, Ford could have shown leadership by putting advanced fuel-saving technologies into its heaviest SUVs.)
In the absence of CAFE increases for nearly two decades, the automakers have squandered every opportunity to improve fuel economy, opting instead to increase horsepower. This trend will continue without more pressure from the government and from consumers.
The Don’t Be Fueled! campaign was formed to pressure automakers to make fuel efficiency a priority, to support efforts in the political arena to increase fuel economy standards and to promote fuel-efficient vehicles.
back to top
6. The automakers have said that it’s too expensive to make highly fuel-efficient cars, and that if they are forced to, the cars will be lighter, less safe, and more expensive to buy. Is this true?
No. As it stands, truck-based SUVs have been the cash cows of the auto industry for the past decade because they are cheap to produce and are sold at a premium. Most are built on pick-up truck chassis, use unsophisticated truck engines and lack safety features present in cars, features that would add to the cost.
Auto manufacturers have a sophisticated lobbying and public relations apparatus for fighting nearly all proposals that would improve fuel economy or vehicle safety. The industry fought the addition of seat belts and air bags as well. For more detail on
auto industry economics and the politics of fuel efficiency, auto safety, and SUVs, we recommend High and Mighty: SUVs: The World's Most Dangerous Vehicles and How They Got That Way by New York Times writer Keith Bradsher. Public Affairs,
back to top
7. Apart from saving money, why else should I care about fuel efficiency?
Three big reasons:
- Air Pollution. Vehicle emissions pollute the air. This is especially true of light trucks, which are allowed to emit up to 5.5 times the ozone-precursor pollutants that passenger cars are allowed to emit. Despite three decades of efforts to clean up the air, California now has six of the ten most ozone-polluted counties in the nation, and most of this pollution is from vehicles. Asthma is nearly epidemic in these and other California counties. The most direct way to reduce pollution from vehicles is to reduce the amount of fuel they consume. Also, the refining and distribution of petroleum fuel is the leading source of toxic and cancer-causing air pollution in urban areas. If the trend toward ever-more fuel consumption goes unchecked, refineries will have to expand and/or new ones will have to be built.
- Global warming. Corporate and governmental denials and related spin campaigns have failed to undermine the growing consensus of credible scientific evidence that human activities are increasing the earth's atmospheric temperatures and have already warmed the oceans, with potentially drastic and inherently unforeseeable consequences for future generations.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), "Burning fossil fuels such as gasoline or diesel adds greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, to the earth's atmosphere. Greenhouse gases trap heat and thus warm the earth . . . . Vehicles with lower fuel economy burn more fuel, creating more carbon dioxide. Every gallon of gasoline your vehicle burns puts 20 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. You can reduce your contribution to global warming by choosing a vehicle with higher fuel economy." Model Year 2003 Fuel Economy Guide, p. 3. www.fueleconomy.gov.
- National security. The US owns about two percent of the world's oil reserves and consumes 25% of the world's petroleum output; meanwhile, 60-70% of the world's oil is in the Middle East. Unless America reduces its consumption of petroleum drastically in the years to come, our children and grandchildren can look forward to decades of foreign policy maneuvering designed to ensure America's continued access to oil fields controlled by some of the world's most anti-democratic, retrogressive and misogynistic regimes. But don't take our word for it—and don't believe the political rhetoric around this issue. Look at beautiful maps of the world's energy supplies for yourself.
Don't Be Fueled! Mothers For Clean and Safe Vehicles is a grassroots ("gasroots") effort initiated by a group of parents, especially mothers, who are concerned about the safety and the environmental soundness of the fleet of vehicles currently plying our roads.
Our education and action campaign is designed to combat the myths that have stalled the trend toward cleaner and safer vehicles: that family vehicles have to be gas guzzlers; that mothers don't care about the negative impacts of their vehicle choices; and that SUVs are "safe."
Have YOU had a CARma conversion? Read what our members say abouts switching to fuel-efficient cars. Send us your story.
ACTION ITEM !
Help DBF Mothers defend California’s Vehicle Global Warming Law!
We are planning our new event in the San Francisco Bay Area as a screening of the documentary End of Surburbia. You can read about it in the Take Action section of out latest Newsletter.
If you are available to volunteer to help us put this together, do let us know
New Biodiesel Fueling Station
A biodiesel fueling station has opened up in San Francisco at the Olympian gas station at 23rd and 3rd - Check it out if you're in the neighborhood!
A terrific lecture by Tom Wenzel
A terrific lecture was given by Tom Wenzel on SUV safety, or the lack thereof. Contact us to borrow the video of this talk. His research on SUV roll-over rates and the safety of smaller, more maneuverable cars is staggering. More
ACTION ITEM !
Give large SUV drivers a little education!
Please print out our new large SUV “tickets” and let them know they might want to consider some better vehicle choices for our planet and our health (and their pocketbooks!) If you can print them out on bright paper, they’ll be seen even better!! [You’ll need to cut them into fours!] Go educate! Download printable tickets
ACTION ITEM !
Help DBF Mothers help defend California’s Vehicle Global Warming Law!
We’re not letting the automakers take away our clean air!
We’re sending letters to Gov. Schwarzenegger and the Auto Manufacturers, care of our friends at Union of Concerned Scientists, Environmental Defense and Bluewater Network. You can too! More
SUV Hybrid now on the Market!
Check out the new Ford Escape SUV Hybrid at the Ford web site! 31-36 MPG with 4-wheel drive! We’re getting there!
DBF Co-Sponsors Ross Gelbspan and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
In December and March, Don’t Be Fueled! proudly co-sponsored two fabulous evenings of speakers: Ross Gelbspan, author of Boiling Point and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., author of Crimes against Nature. Additional speakers those evenings were Paul Fenn, Local Power; Randall Hayes, Sustainability Director of the City of Oakland; and Larry Fahn, President of The Sierra Club.
DBF Founders in the News Spotlight:
The Chronicle recently ran separate articles about Betsy Rosenberg and Lauren Klein-Hayes, two of the founding members of Don’t Be Fueled! More
Don’t Be Fueled! featured in film "Oil on Ice"
Do pick up a copy of the new DVD, Oil on Ice and have a viewing party! See DBF Mothers speak out on film! You can find this fabulous film that tells it like it is at www.oilonice.org. A Dale Djerassi and Bo Boudart production.
Don't Be Fueled! featured on Air America Radio
Tune in to "Ecotalk", an environmental program hosted by DBF's Betsy Rosenberg on Air America Radio, Sunday mornings between 7 and 8am on airamericaradio.com.
Protest Against Hummers on Earth Day!
Thurs. April 22, 2020
Protest are planned in cities across the country. What better way to celebrate Earth Day? Protest gas-guzzling, antisocial Hummer vehicles! If you are interested in participating in a Bay Area or Sacramento Hummer protest on Earth Day, please call us (415) 561-2165 More
In September, Don't Be Fueled! was invited to the Bibendum Challenge, and annual rally sponsored by Michelin Tire of France to showcase innovations in vehicle technology. This year, it was at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. The 2020 Prius was on display and available for test drive, as well as prototypes of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles from GM, Honda, Nssan and other makers. Also on view were some futuristic and fun vehicles not available in the US.
The Nissan Hypermini EV was the cutest.
First Anniversary of National "DON’T BE FUELED!" Gas-Roots Campaign
One year ago over 75 Bay Area moms marched on San Francisco’s Marina Green with picket signs to launch their drive for better fuel economy and safer vehicles. The organization, Don’t Be Fueled! Mothers for Safe and Clean Vehicles (DontbeFueled.org) puts Moms in the driver seat to increase supply and demand for more family-friendly and less polluting models. More
In February, Don't Be Fueled! was happy to welcome New York Times reporter Keith Bradsher to San Francisco. Keith spoke to a packed room about the updated, paperback edition of High and Mighty: SUVs: The World's Most Dangerous Vehicles And How They Got That Way, called by the New Yorker magazine's Malcolm Gladwell the most important book on vehicle safety since Nader's Unsafe At Any Speed. We enjoyed learning more from Keith at lunch afterwards.
Don't Be Fueled founder Betsy Rosenberg interviewed
After a series of wake-up calls "I went from driving a gas-guzzling SUV to a gas-sipping Toyota Prius," she says, proudly touting a car that gets upwards of 50 miles per gallon. More
Mothers Meet With GM Exec. In June, Lynn Fuller and Betsy Rosenberg met with Dave Barthmuss, recently arrived from Detroit to serve as GM's new California Manager for Environment and Energy Communication. Read about their lively discussion.
Mothers (and Sons) March in Mill Valley Memorial Day Parade. On Memorial Day, we marched in the Mill Valley Memorial Day Parade, a wonderful annual community event. A convoy of three hybrid cars rolled down the parade route following our colorful banner.