States Should Follow California’s Lead

It’s the beginning of awards season in Hollywood as I write this and we are in the thick of making plans for our annual Pre-Oscar party.

It’s been almost 10 years since we launched the Global Green USA ‘Red Carpet, Green Cars’ campaign to help make hybrid and fuel-efficient cars fun and sexy. Once again, we will be highlighting the virtues of green cars at our Pre-Oscar event in Hollywood. And each year the audience is even more receptive and excited for change.

Ten years ago, many of us were the only ones on our blocks driving green cars. We received a lot of press attention back then for shuttling Hollywood influencers to the Academy Awards – in the first-generation Prius, among other green cars – and to the Emmy Awards in hybrid-electric buses.

Now, of course, we don’t really need to introduce the public to vehicles that are better for the environment. The Prius was named the best-selling car in California in 2012 and the third-best selling car in the world. And there’s not enough room in this column to list the actors, athletes, and other influencers who drive hybrid or electric cars.

The downturn in the economy certainly played a role in increasing the profile of green cars, as record-setting high gas prices convinced people to choose vehicles that are more fuel-efficient and wallet-friendly. Consumers have also naturally started making more environmentally friendly lifestyle choices in other areas of their lives – just take a look at the rise in organic food choices at mainstream grocery stores as an example.

Personal choices we make to curb greenhouse gas emissions are to be applauded, but they are not enough. Now, we need more action from elected leaders to make clean our roads.

Again, Hollywood – all of California, really – is leading the way with stricter emission standards for vehicles. California’s Advanced Clean Cars Program will impose very high emissions standards on cars powered by gasoline. We need other states to take California’s lead and make changes to make green cars the norm.


Matt Petersen is President and CEO of Global Green USA, the American arm of Green Cross International