“Green Checkup” Campaign Focuses Attention on Vehicle Maintence

MCLEAN, VA, High gas prices have just about everyone searching for ways to save on gas and improve fuel economy. To help motorists save money at the gas pump and-at the same time-cut greenhouse gas emissions through proper vehicle maintenance, the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) has created a check list of Green Maintenance Tips, which can be found at a new Web site for consumers, www.GreenDrivingUSA.com.

NADA is urging its members to offer free Green Checkups, which focus on the things that have the most effect on fuel economy, such as oil and air filters, engine performance, tire pressure and emission controls.

Dealers in 40 states already have signed up to become Green Checkup dealers, bringing the total number to 220 since the Green Checkup campaign was officially announced at a news conference in Denver on Monday, August 18.

“It’s encouraging to see so many NADA members sign up to become Green Checkup dealers at such a fast pace,” said Annette Sykora, NADA chairman. “Dealers are responding with enthusiasm,” she added.

In her remarks at the news conference, Sykora emphasized that the goal of the Green Checkup campaign is to highlight simple steps that car owners can take to maintain their vehicles in top running condition.

“With high fuel prices and greenhouse gas emissions on the minds of many Americans, the incentive has never been greater for motorists to invest in the kind of maintenance that improves fuel economy,” Sykora said.

September is being promoted as Green Checkup Month, but dealers can offer Green Checkups as part of their routine service year-round. “Dealerships are located in every major community in the country which means we are ideally positioned to be at the forefront of a national consumer awareness campaign,” said Sykora, owner of two dealerships in Texas.

This is one example of how dealers are becoming more energy conscious. A trend toward green dealerships is another.

“Dealers around the country have invested close to a billion dollars on facility upgrades and new construction over the past few years to reduce energy consumption at their dealerships,” Sykora said.

NADA Partners with EPA to Create “Green Dealerships”
NADA joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Challenge in December 2006, and soon after launched an Energy Stewardship Initiative. Many dealerships are investing in cutting-edge heating and cooling methods and more efficient lighting, as well as wind and solar power. Today, several dealerships are LEED certified by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.

Through NADA’s Energy Stewardship Initiative in partnership with the EPA, more than 750 dealers (to date) have taken the first step by committing to reduce their energy use by 10 percent or more annually. In 2007, NADA was recognized by EPA as the first trade group representing a national network of retailers to enter into a comprehensive partnership with the ENERGY STAR program.

If all U.S. dealerships reduced their energy consumption by just 10 percent, they would save about $200 million in energy costs and prevent more than one million tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year.

To support the Energy Stewardship Initiative, NADA created a brochure, A Dealer Guide to Energy Star: Putting Energy into Profits, which provides dealers with the tools to create cost-effective, retrofit and new construction projects for energy-efficient lighting, climate control and building design. For more information, visit www.nada.org/energystar.

“With the growing number of green dealerships and the Green Checkup campaign, we are sending a clear signal that when it comes to climate change, America’s new car dealers are part of the solution,” Sykora said.

Contact your local dealership to find out if a Green Checkup is being offered in your community and schedule an appointment. For more information about NADA’s Green Maintenance Tips, visit www.GreenDrivingUSA.com.

USA TODAY and NADA Recognize Dealers for Energy Conservation
Jim Hand, owner of Hand Motors in Manchester Center, Vt., was presented with the USA TODAY Dealer Innovation Award in March 2008. Energy conservation was the theme of this year’s award.

He was selected from four finalists as the winner of the national award. Hand Motors expects to save about $30,000 a year in energy costs through its “reduce, recycle and carbon-offset” program. The dealership heats its 11,200 sq. ft. service shop with 100 percent waste motor oil and vegetable oil-at no cost to the dealership. In fact, the dealership saves more than $15,000 a year by not having to buy standard heating oil.

Consumers can save money and energy-and wear and tear on their vehicles-with proper care and maintenance. For NADA’s 10-Point Green Checkup list, visit www.GreenDrivingUSA.com.

NADA, founded in 1917 and based in McLean, Va., represents about 20,000 new-car and -truck dealers with 43,000 franchises, both domestic and import.

[Attention: The "Green Checkup" campaign, sponsored by the National Automobile Dealers ssociation, is off to a fast start. In less than a week since the Green Checkup campaign was launched, new-car dealers in 40 states already have signed up and more are coming in every day. Fresh detail and additional background on NADA's Green Checkup program are included in this release.]

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