Driving Change with Your Auto Club Dues


If you count yourself among those who consider driving a necessary evil, I have some advice for you: put your car club dollars where your values are. Have you heard that AAA, America’s favorite car club, has green competition?

Enter Better World Car Club, the only car club in the country that offers bicycle roadside assistance along with the usual car program. They also donate 1% of gross sales to environmental cleanup programs, offer discounts for hybrids, buy carbon offsets, and charge a gas-guzzler surcharge for high emitting vehicles. (Although I’d be surprised if they have many Hummer-driving members.)

Here’s what they don’t do – they don’t use your membership dues to fight against environmentally smart transportation initiatives. I always thought of AAA as an innocuous, if stodgy, brand. I had no idea that AAA has opposed bike lanes, has denied that air pollution causes smog and basically uses the power of its purse and lobbying to influence car-first government policies.

If you join Better World, maybe you won’t get the Via anymore, which may leave your bathroom reading wanting, but you will get a hilarious and environmentally friendly e-newsletter called Kicking Asphalt that will keep you updated on goings-on in the world of driving.

Better World also offers the usual travel discounts (including eco-travel and discounts for hybrid car rentals), car insurance, travel debit cards, free maps and more.
Maybe joining Better World Car Club won’t make you feel better about driving, but at least you’ll know you’re part of an organization that cares about the same things you do.

Image: ktylerkonk

Vanessa Barrington

Vanessa Barrington is a San Francisco based writer and communications consultant specializing in environmental, social, and political issues in the food system.