Everyday we make choices about the services and companies we do business with. In line with our transportation theme this week, lets talk about which roadside assistance company offers you the most environmental options while maintaining conventional services you have grown to love.
For my entire life and well before, my parents have been devoted AAA (American Automobile Association) members. As a child, I loved the TripTik and travel catalog which kept me entertained for hours on those long, cross-country voyages. With more than 50 million members across the country, we were members of one of the largest clubs in the world. But not long after I moved away from home and began my career saving the world from environmental disaster, I learned about an alternative. The Better World Club offers the same services as its better known competition, without a lot of the environmental degradation.
Ok, so how does a roadside assistance company degrade the environment? What you may not know is that when a company has 50 million members, they have a pretty great pull with congressional members. And that pull may not be pulling your way. AAA is a known member of the Highway Lobby (the auto, oil, tire and cement industries) and for decades has supported the growth of urban sprawl to the detriment of public transportation systems. Think about it: AAA doesn’t make more money if people are driving less.
Unlike AAA and all of the other companies out there who are trying to be like them, the Better World Club offers a greener, cleaner policy platform and services to back it up. No, they unfortunately do not (yet) offer hybrid tow trucks to come pick up your car. Instead, their basic roadside assistance services mirror that of AAA or similar companies, but they ice that cake by donating 1% of their revenue to environmental cleanup and advocacy, offering opportunities to purchase carbon offsets when booking travel, and discounts on particularly green travel options – like those rental cars we talked about the other day. They offer discounts for hybrids and do, in fact charge more for drivers of the year’s worst fuel efficient vehicles (that’s right Hummer drivers, you pay more!). All this, for about the same price as AAA.
Not a driver, but still want a company to help you with your travel needs and reap the discounts on hotels and rental cars? Better World Club has a program for you. Even though I am not an avid biker and do not even subscribe to this service, I think the piece de resistance of the Better World Club is their roadside assistance for bicyclists. That’s right, you get a flat tire while biking and need some help? Whip out that cell phone and call them up. Someone will come to help you fix the bike and if they can’t, will pick you up and take you where you can get help.
This isn’t about me advertising this green company; it’s about you knowing where you are spending your money. For many services and businesses you patronize, there are green alternatives. By doing some quick research about the policies of the conventional business and understanding why their business has a green alternative, you can make more informed decisions about where you money goes and how it might be spent after you’ve turned it over. In the case of roadside assistance, you might just find that the company you have been giving money to is using your hard earned cash to lobby against policies you hold near and dear.