2002 Tour de Sol to Feature Great American Green Transportation Festivals

Tour de Sol will hold six free festivals featuring food, music, and Earth-friendly products including green electricity choices, and over 50 advanced vehicles.

Published: 04-Jan-2002

GREENFIELD, Mass.-- Next spring, the Tour de Sol: The Great American Green Transportation Festival will give thousands of visitors a chance to see first hand new strategies for reducing dependence on foreign oil. Advanced transportation technologies as well as traditional transportation options offer real solutions to America's security and environmental problems.

"Although President Bush has made reduced dependence on foreign oil a national priority, few people know that the U.S. owns only three percent of the known oil reserves. This means we will never be able to supply all our own oil, and this threatens our economic and national security," says Nancy Hazard, director of the Tour de Sol. "One of the most patriotic things we can do is reduce the amount of gasoline we use to get around -- and as a bonus we will save money and emit fewer greenhouse gases."

Beginning on May 12, 2002, and continuing through May 18, the Tour de Sol will hold six free festivals in the Northeast that feature food, music, and Earth-friendly products including green electricity choices, and over 50 advanced vehicles ranging from small, one-person scooters through compact and family-size vehicles all the way up to larger vehicles such as buses. What all these vehicles have in common is that they use less gasoline. There will also be activities and information about traditional transportation options such as walking, biking, and mass transit -- which are healthy, energy efficient, and deliver cost savings and other environmental benefits.

Test-drives in advanced vehicles available today, such as Honda and Toyota's hybrid gas-electric vehicles, Ford's electric city cars and bikes, and DaimlerChrysler's electric neighborhood vehicle, will give visitors an opportunity to experience these new vehicles first-hand. Hybrid-electric vehicles combine internal combustion engines with electric motors to greatly increase mileage and reduce pollution. These hybrid-electric vehicles run on gasoline today, but could run on biodiesel, ethanol, hydrogen, or compressed natural gas in the future. Fully electric vehicles produce no tailpipe emissions and can be recharged from outlets at homes or businesses. With the United States involved right now in foreign conflict, all of us are concerned about our national security and our economy. A large part of that security depends on having a sufficient supply of energy. Right now, much of our oil is imported from the Middle East -- a source that is vulnerable to crises. "If everyone today chose to drive one of the advanced vehicles on the market, the U.S. could cut its use of oil in half," says Warren Leon, Executive Director of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association, organizer of the Tour de Sol. "These new vehicles can make us a stronger, more self-sufficient country. The choice is in the hands of the consumer."

Tour de Sol festivals will be held during National Transportation Week, May 12-18, 2002 in Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Trenton, New York City, and Annapolis. An additional festival location is planned and will be announced later. All the festivals are free and open to the public. In addition to the festivals, many of the electric-drive vehicles, built by students, entrepreneurs, and hobbyists, and major auto companies, will compete in the Tour de Sol road-rally championship. Prizes will be awarded to the greenest vehicles that also demonstrate reliability, good acceleration, and handling.

Some of the Tour de Sol vehicles are one-of-a-kind creations that can't be seen anywhere else in the U.S. other than the Tour de Sol. It would take someone weeks of travel all over the country and abroad to see this many advanced technology vehicles. Over its history, the Tour de Sol festivals have become popular destinations for families, students, teachers, and members of the general public.

The Northeast Sustainable Energy Association is the nation's leading regional association involved in promoting awareness, understanding, and development of non-polluting, renewable energy technologies. Headquartered in Greenfield, Mass., NESEA has worked successfully in the fields of transportation, building construction and renewable energy for over 27 years. The U.S. Department of Energy is the major sponsor of the event. For more information on the Tour de Sol festivals, electric-drive vehicles, school field trip opportunities, and free educational resources go to www.nesea.org or call 413/774-6051.

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