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THE LAZY ENVIRONMENTALIST : Lazy Driver

THE LAZY ENVIRONMENTALIST, hosted by Josh Dorfman, screens Tuesdays at 9PM on Sundance Channel.

From a Lazy Environmentalist perspective, I have to admit that I’m not altogether unhappy to see gas prices rising again. For better or worse, the most effective way I’ve encountered to convince people to make environmentally sound choices is to appeal directly to their wallets. So when gas prices rise, fuel-efficient alternatives start to look much more appealing. In “Lazy Driver” I’m working with a really busy courier service – delivering on the order of several hundred packages around Los Angeles per day – to figure out how to boost the fuel economy of their cars (to reduce greenhouse gas emissions), reduce fuel costs and still enable deliveries to be made in time.

I won’t give away too much of what we attempted to do though I will say that at times during the filming of this segment I was considerably terrified. That’s how I felt while driving on the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles at about 7 miles per hour under rare, traffic-free conditions. It’s a terrific strategy for boosting fuel efficiency and also for attracting the fury of just about every other car driver on the road. I’d say I probably hadn’t been flipped-off by other people so often in such a short time span since my college days (when we were probably driving 7 miles per hour on the highway not because we were trying to save the planet but because we were stoned).

Now granted, on the show we were pushing the extreme to see just how much we could improve our fuel economy. It’s not like I encourage people to drive 7 mph on their local highway. And it’s not like our courier driver “hero” in this segment was very positive about this particular driving technique either. Nor were the policemen in the cop car that pulled up alongside us and ordered us to immediately exit the highway. Nothing about 7 mph smacks of a Lazy Environmentalist solution that really works.

But you never know what solutions are going to be realistic and effective in reducing our environmental impact until you try. And I do believe that a lot of techniques we came up with in this segment are things that people will want to incorporate into their driving behavior especially as gas prices rise. It’s just that going 7 mph might not be one of them.


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