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Would Roads Be Safer and Greener Without Red Lights?

Half of Portland cyclists run red lights. And maybe they've got the right idea.


I run red lights. Not as a driver, but all the time on my bike. As a pedestrian, I’m an even worse offender, though crossing against the light on foot is less of a run and more of a scamper. Running a red light in a car feels dangerous and transgressive. On a bike, it feels practical, and on foot, it seems like a right. As a red-light runner, I’m in good company: Portland State University students reported recently that at busy intersections near their campus, more than half of the cyclists they observed ran through red lights. Only 7 percent of the cars the students observed were so brazen.

Data like this can be used to scold cyclists, but it’s also a reason to rethink red lights. If half of cyclists, a growing group of road users, aren’t following the rules of red lights, maybe it’s because the lights aren’t serving their needs.

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Never Inflate Your Car or Bike Tires Again—Soon, They'll Do It Themselves

Goodyear is developing self-inflating tires for trucks and cars, while a San Francisco startup wants to do the same for bikes


Humans are not naturally efficient beings. Despite our best three-cups-of-coffee, getting-things-done intentions, we meander, we forget, we waste. And in the aggregate, all these tiny sins—leaving the lights on, turning the air conditioning up, buying too much food at the grocery store—make us use more energy than we need to. Case in point: Drivers know somewhere in their brains that driving with tires at the proper pressure saves gas. But when was the last time you checked the pressure or reinflated them?

Sure, there are the super-humans among us that never forget about things like this. But most of us aren’t, which is why the U.S. Department of Energy gave Goodyear $1.5 million this month to work on tires that monitor their own pressure and inflate themselves.

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How Car Companies Will Meet Obama's New Fuel Standards

By 2025, cars and trucks sold in the United States will have an average fuel efficiency of 54.5 miles per gallon, using technologies that exist today.

President Obama announced today that by 2025 the cars and trucks sold in the United States would have an average fuel efficiency of 54.5 miles per gallon. The White House says vehicles that use less gas and emit less carbon will save consumers $1.7 billion over the course of the program, which starts in 2017. (The 2011 standard is 28.3 mpg.)

It’s an ambitious goal, although not as ambitious as the 60-plus mpg standard environmental groups were pushing for. Car makers were in on the deal, but they’re still a bit wary of it, which is one reason why there’s a check-in point midway through the program that would allow the government to adjust the standard. But one of the strongest points of the standard is that getting to 54.5 mpg won’t require any dramatic breakthroughs. Car makers should be able to meet the program’s goals with existing technologies.

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Video: Hybrids, Electric Cars, and Flywheels at the Detroit Auto Show

All the carmakers are jumping on the electric bandwagon. Inhabitat founder Jill Fehrenbacher checks out the Detroit Auto Show's new reveals.

We've been following the announcements and various green car "reveals" from the North American International Auto Show (better known as the Detroit Auto Show) from afar, and so were happy to find Inhabitat's video of the plug-in and electric highlights.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4gVMTiahx8

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Two Steps Forward on Energy, One Sidestep for Show

The end of last week brought a flurry of news about energy and climate concerns-fuel efficiency standards, new mountaintop removal mining rules,...

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