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February 08, 2012

All My Friends Drive on Low Carbon

Screenshot2M Wouldn't it be nice if every time you did something for the planet, someone kept a tally? Well, for electric vehicle drivers, there's an app for that.

The latest cool thing to come out of the "Car 2.0 era" was unveiled last week from the makers of PlugShare, which is a program that acts as a social network of EV-charger locations. They have designed and released an app called GreenCharge, which calculates how much oil, and how many dollars, you save with each mile you drive your EV. And like other EV apps, it will monitor the car's remaining charge and driving range.

But the best feature on this app is that it totals how many pounds of carbon you're keeping from the atmosphere by driving a plug-in vehicle. It will also keep track of local electricity rates and compare those to your local gas vendor.

It then allows you to share these results on Facebook and Twitter. With constant stories of Big Oil profits and volatile gas prices in the news, what's not to "like" about this? Techcrunch points out, "A vague sense of helping the environment isn't enough. EV sales won't surge until their financial benefits become common knowledge. By educating drivers and their social networks, GreenCharge could get the mainstream to plug in."

This is a pretty useful tool, because it makes it clear as day how much cleaner plug-in vehicles are than the typical hunk of metal that depends on oil. Plug In America board member and Sierra Club member Marc Geller explains, EV fuel gets cleaner over time "because the grid is getting cleaner. Electricity might not be getting cleaner as quickly as we would like, but it is getting cleaner. The dirtiest day you drive your Nissan Leaf is the first day you drive it."

Click here for a video demonstration. You can expect more interactive apps like this one as more plug-in cars hit the road and drivers chat about the experience.

Want to learn more about electric cars? Visit the Sierra Club's Go Electric campaign.

-- Brian Foley/image: GreenCharge

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