Roadside Service, AAA, and the Environment

Roadside Service, AAA, and the Environment

If you have AAA roadside service for your hybrid, then you are taking two steps forward and one step backward. That’s because AAA is backwards on environmental issues. Hybrid drivers around the country are dropping AAA, and seeking greener alternatives.

Traffic

Your AAA membership fees are used to lobby for more highways, congestion, and air pollution.

What's Wrong with AAA?

"A lot of people belong to AAA because they think it's a nice place to get Triptiks and traveler's checks," said Daniel Becker, director of Sierra Club's global warming and energy program. "What they don't know is that AAA is a lobbyist for more roads, more pollution, and more gas guzzling."

A few AAA milestones:

  1. 1990 - AAA opposed the 1990 Clean Air Act, claiming the the bill would ”jeopardize needed funds for new highway construction.”
  2. 1991 - AAA opposed more bicycle and pedestrian lanes, commenting that "mass transit and bicycle paths aren't going to make a dent on congestion."
  3. 1997 - AAA came out against limits on the amount of smog and soot allowed in the air.
  4. 1998 - AAA in New Jersey opposed increasing gasoline taxes by 7 cents a gallon as a means to fund land conservation, with Pamela Fischer, AAA spokeswoman, saying “Yeah, I'd like to preserve open spaces, but I'm a motorist."
  5. 1999 - AAA even denied that automobiles cause air pollution in its “Cleaning the Air” study.

Plain and simple: AAA is big business. Even though they are not-for-profit, AAA sells billions of dollars worth of insurance, traveler's checks and travel agency services every year. By pursuing the same goals as the auto, oil, and road building industries, AAA benefits directly. The more cars and more roads, the more revenue for AAA.

Better World Club

The Better World Club formed as an alternative to AAA. They don't engage in anti-environmental lobbying—and they charge less for exactly the same roadside service as AAA (often using exactly the same network of service providers). If you get a better price from AAA, they'll match it.

As long as we are on a roll with promoting Better World Club, let's keep going. They donate one percent of their revenues to environmental clean-up efforts, such as carbon offset programs. They provide roadside assistance for bicycles, as well as eco-friendly travel and insurance. And they were endorsed by the Sierra Club, Tom Magliozzi of NPR's Car Talk, and Ralph Nader.

Time for a Change

The folks at the Better World Club believe in hybrids. To prove it, they'll extend your membership to a thirteenth month for free, just because you're on this hybrid cars website. Here's how:

  • Go to the Better World Club Sign-up Page
  • Use this code in the "Optional Information" section: HDCR0312, to get the "hybridcars.com discount" of one free extra month of service.
  • The Premium Service for $83.95 per year gets you 100 free miles of towing. The Basic Service for $53.95 gets you the first 5 miles free only.
  • Both services include 100% of the services (flat tire, battery, fuel delivery, vehicle repair discount, rental car at disabled site, etc.) offered by AAA.
Again, when you go to their sign-up page, use the promotional code: HDCR0312.

Send us email if you have any trouble with the Better World Club website or if you have anything less than a great experience with their service.

Sources for this information about AAA include investigative reporter Michael Rivlin’s 2001 article “The Secret Life of AAA” for the Natural Resources Defense Council and a May 2002 Harper’s Magazine article entitled “AAA Paves the Road to Hell."

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