By Shannon Arvizu
We live in an exciting time for alternative car technologies. Innovations to increase energy efficiency and decrease unhealthy emissions are emerging at a rapid rate. From the popular Toyota Prius to the sexy Tesla Roadster, new green cars use less (or no) petroleum while satisfying driver demand for top performance.
Purchasing a new green car, however, may not be the greenest choice – particularly if your current vehicle works fine. Proper maintenance of your car (such as properly inflated tires and regularly scheduled filter changes) helps, as does driving at a moderate speed (see fueleconomy.gov for more tips).
A new product on the market, Sabertec’s Blade, may also give your car a boost. The Blade is a small attachment that connects to your car’s tailpipe. It improves the air flow in the catalytic converter and acts as a filter, capturing toxic exhaust particles that would otherwise circulate into the air. It was originally developed in Curitiba, Brazil (known as one of the greenest cities in South America) for city bus use and has since been adapted for passenger vehicles.
So, just how much cleaner and more fuel-efficient can your car be with Blade? An extensive review by Automotive Testing and Development Services Inc. (an independent lab licensed by the California Air Resources Board) found that Blade improved fuel efficiency on a 2004 Honda Civic an average of 2.7 mpg/city and 5 mpg/hwy. Blade also reduced the CO2 emissions of this vehicle by up to 12 percent.
Blade works best on four -cylinder cars like Honda Civics or Toyota Corollas, but has also shown improvements in light-duty trucks, sedans, SUV s and hybrids. Keep in mind, however, that Blade will only fit on a 1 7/8s- to 2 -inch tail pipe and can be damaged by extreme driving. You can install Blade yourself or have an authorized installer do it for you. Blade retails for $199. For more information, see bladeyourride.com.