Nine-state Tour Showcases Hybrid SUV and Ethanol-powered Sedan

WASHINGTON (Aug. 3, 2006) -- Amid sky-high energy prices and as the economic and environmental challenges of America's oil dependence are becoming increasingly clear, a national conservation group is hitting the road to showcase the cleaner, faster and cheaper path toward energy security.

Starting Sunday, four representatives of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) will embark on the "Drive Beyond Oil Tour," cruising across nine states in a Ford Escape Hybrid SUV, the first production hybrid SUV, and a 2006 Chevrolet Impala that can run on ethanol fuels as well as gasoline.

The crew will meet with local citizens, mayors, farmers, clean energy advocates and others to talk about better technology in our vehicles, clean renewable energy sources like fuels made from home-grown crops and wind and solar energy. Together, these alternatives will create new jobs, reduce global warming pollution, and end our dependence on oil from the Middle East and other politically volatile regions of the world.

"By relying on available technologies and old-fashioned American know-how, we can move our economy beyond oil, reduce global warming pollution and create new jobs, starting right now," said Deron Lovaas, NRDC's Vehicles Campaign Director and one of the road trippers.

The current average gas price in the United States is $3.00/gallon, 70 cents higher than this time last year.

Anyone can track the road trippers progress, see video and listen to podcasts at

After the Sunday, August 6 start in Washington, DC, the tour winds through West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Virginia and back into Washington.

Two Roads -- Clean and Cheap, or Dirty and Expensive

When it comes to energy, America is faced with two very different paths.

The forward-looking one will put us on the superhighway toward ending our oil addiction once and for all. It includes widespread use of homegrown fuels like ethanol, which is now not just made from corn but from other crops and even the grasses that grow wild on the American plains. This cleaner path also includes more hybrid vehicles, made by American automakers, which will create jobs, cut global warming pollution, and re-invigorate the American auto industry.

The other path, advocated by large oil companies like ExxonMobil and coal companies, would not only perpetuate our dependence on fossil fuels but also embrace some antiquated technologies with a long record of worker safety problems and environmental degradation.

The choice could not be more clear.

"What America needs now is leadership to bring government, industry and agriculture to the table to unleash the power of American ingenuity and make our world safer, cleaner and more prosperous,'' said Deron Lovaas, "Using more alternative energy is good for our national security, good for our economy, and good for our environment."