Green Driving America Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit organization based in Sacramento County, California. Wayne Michaud is the founder and Executive Director of the organization. Green Driving America is served by six Board of Directors members (listed below).
6900 Navarro Ct., Citrus Heights, CA 95621
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WHAT IS GREEN DRIVING?
Green Driving, which has also been known as Eco Driving and Smart Driving, is traditionally recognized as a series of efficient driving practices. Green Driving America is placing equal emphasis on what is more and more truly green driving: the advent of vehicles ranging from low emissions, such as Plug In Hybrids (PHEV) to zero-emissions: primarily Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV or EV).
Green Driving America closely aligns itself philosophically with the Clean Cities Coalition Network: part of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Vehicle Technologies Office. As stated on their website, "Clean Cities coalitions foster the nation's economic, environmental, and energy security by working locally to advance affordable, domestic transportation fuels, energy efficient mobility systems, and other fuel-saving technologies and practices". There are nearly 100 local coalitions serving as the foundation of Clean Cities by working in communities across the country.
Green Driving America shows two ways to achieve significant benefits for drivers personally, for others, and for the planet:
1. improving driving behavior
2. making the choice to drive a vehicle that consumes less fuel or no fuel at all
The results of acting on one or both of these will be:
• reductions in money spent for fuel and maintenance
• reductions in CO2 emitted into the atmosphere that impacts our climate
• reductions in fossil fuel energy consumption
• improvements in air quality and health
• to become safer drivers
HOW DOES THE ORGANIZATION ACHIEVE ITS MISSION?
While Green Driving America strives to make drivers of all ages aware of the benefits at hand to make a difference, it specializes in and seeks funding for projects in the school community. The target is high schoolers: drivers-to-be and new drivers. This audience has yet to acquire deep-seated driving habits and is therefore more open and receptive to learning. Green Driving America works with America's environmental educators and driver educators in a number of states to reach this audience with a funded green driving supplement to the educators' classroom instruction/curriculum.
HOW DID GREEN DRIVING AMERICA EVOLVE?
Green Driving America Inc. was previously known as Idle-Free California Inc., a 501c3 non-profit which focused specifically on the issue of unnecessary vehicle idling in California. Executive Director Wayne Michaud had relocated from the State of Vermont in 2016 when the organization had been known as Idle-Free VT Inc., founded in 2006. Wayne had significant success with achieving idle reduction in Vermont. He partnered with others in the legislative enactment of a Vermont school bus idling rule and then an all motor vehicle idling restriction law. Wayne coordinated American Lung Association in Vermont programs that educated about fleet idling before business and municipal fleet managers and drivers. Idle-Free VT was awarded grants to implement idle-free and green driving educational projects for Vermont businesses, municipalities, and schools. In the school community, he built relationships with science, math, STEM, environmental educators to implement these projects. And, working with Vermont driver educators, he gave more than 120 green driving guest-lecturing presentations from 2013-16.
Along the way, Wayne was presented with the ALA's Air Quality Champion award, was one of five Sustainable America "Anti-Idling Heroes", and received an accolade from the Vermont Dept. of Environmental Conservation*.
While Wayne was recognized with the prestigious East Bay Clean Cities Clean Air Champion award in 2019, Idle-Free California did not achieve the level of success that Idle-Free VT did. Overall, California health and environmental organizations, regional and state agencies and the state legislature took little interest in unnecessary idling despite the low-hanging fruit opportunity to reduce its impact in the state: 300 million gallons of fuel consumed resulting in three million tons of CO2 emitted annually by vehicles idling just when parked. California was and is focused exclusively on the imperative of zero-emissions transportation.
Wayne therefore decided to broaden the transportation efficiency advocacy of his organization and in October 2020, Green Driving America Inc. was born following a legal change of name and purpose with the California Secretary of State and the IRS.
*"In all my years at DEC, I'm hard-pressed to think of any Vermont citizen who has done more to help address an important environmental and public health issue like this one. Unnecessary vehicle idling is one of those problems that simply cannot be solved by Government alone. Citizen action and involvement are absolutely critical, and no one provides a better example of that than you."
Tom Moye, (ret.) Mobile Sources Section Chief
Air Quality and Climate Division, Vermont DEC
GREEN DRIVING AMERICA INC. BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Wayne Michaud, Executive Director/President/Treasurer, Green Driving America Inc.
Wayne is founder of Idle-Free VT in 2006 which became Idle-Free California in 2017 and Green Driving America in 2020.
David Polow, Director/Vice President
David is an attorney at Polow Polow, PLLC with nearly four decades in personal injury law and handling auto accident claims. The firm represents clients who are injured in car, motorcycle, truck, bike, and pedestrian accidents. He is a long-time transportation efficiency advocate, not only for green driving, but alternatives to driving, period. David resides in Hyde Park, VT.
Ellen Michaud, Director/Secretary
Ellen is an award-winning author and editor who creates original content for magazines, books, and digital media. She is a former editor-at-large for Prevention magazine and Live Happy magazine. As Wayne's wife, she has been a long-time supporter of idle reduction and green driving advocacy and loves driving the family Chevy Bolt EV.
Richard Battersby, Director
Richard is an Assistant Director of Public Works for the City of Oakland, CA and is Coordinator of the East Bay Clean Cities Coalition. He has nearly 30 years experience in the fleet industry implementing sustainable fleet practices while managing private sector, federal, state, county, and city fleets. Richard resides in Fairfield, CA.
Susan Schneider, Director
Susan co-founded the San Joaquin County Climate Action Coalition. She is a Visiting Scholar at the University of the Pacific and a consultant for Root Solutions, a sustainability nonprofit. Susan holds degrees in environmental and mechanical engineering, and a PhD in psychology. She wrote the award-winning book, The Science of Consequences. Her current work includes engagement in the Healthy Air Living Schools program, supported by the SJVAPCD. She helped bring this and the Idle-Free California program to Venture Academy in Stockton. Susan resides in Stockton,CA.
Richard Kearney, Director
Rich is the owner of Upper Valley Driving Academy, teaching driver education to Vermont and New Hampshire students. Further, he is the president of the VDTSEA (Vermont Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association), representing approximately one hundred Vermont driver educators. Rich is an ADTSEA member and a frequent presenter at driver education conferences. He is environmentally-minded, instructing his students on the benefits of practicing efficient transportation measures. Rich resides in Newbury, VT.
ABOUT WAYNE MICHAUD
A big reason why I chose to be an environmental advocate is, I care about our Earth and human health. Now, as a young man in Pennsylvania, this caring was not yet on my mind. In fact, I was a muscle car aficionado. So I get why some motorists today like speed and aggressiveness. But the world is a much different place now. In the 1970s I began taking an interest in recycling and litter pick-ups. And following the oil crises of that decade, I would also turn off and restart the car engine in drive-thrus.
Not too long after our family moved to Vermont in 1998, climate change became a mainstream issue. I would repeatedly observe parked vehicles idling - a mostly unnecessary practice. So I chose anti-idling as an emissions reduction advocacy. I take pride that leading this effort made a difference in the State of Vermont. But after a decade, it was time to hand our work over to others, and to tackle a much bigger anti-idling challenge in the Golden State (along with the desire to be nearer to our son, who was already in California).
I now feel a broader clean transportation effort is what's needed, not just in California but in other states. Until clean and autonomous vehicle technologies in America take hold in the middle of this century, it is imperative that we get the message to drivers about the benefits of green driving practices and to promote the use of cleaner vehicles. Green Driving America is driven (no pun intended!) to reach these drivers—especially young drivers who are the future motorists of our nation—to make a difference!!
Courtesy: Capital Region Living magazine