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Green cars stop the public in their tracks

People in Chester were stopped in their tracks on Thursday 12th October by a show of green cars.

The event outside the Town Hall, and the first ever of its kind in Chester, showcased the best of the environmentally-friendly cars on the market today. On show were the only four petrol-electric hybrid cars currently available in the UK – the Lexus GS450h and RX400h, the Toyota Prius and the Honda Civic. All these cars commanded great interest from the public, but the star of the show was the Saab 9-5 BioPower, complete with its own stand that almost dwarfed the Town Hall.

It was a unique chance to be one of the first in the North West to see the 9-5 BioPower, Saab’s flexi-fuel car that can run on either petrol or bioethanol E85, which has the potential to reduce fossil CO2 emissions by up to 70%. Admittedly, no E85 filling stations are near Chester at the moment, however, sponsors of the Green Car Show, felt someone had to step out and lead us out of the chicken and egg scenario of biofuel cars and biofuel availability.

The Green Car Show was part of another first – the launch of Chester’s CRed – or Carbon Reduction – scheme, when Chester became the first city in the world to offer its residents, businesses and schools a personal pathway to reducing carbon emissions.

This is being achieved by providing free access to a carbon reduction system known as CRed. CRed acts as a personal trainer, encouraging and helping users to make pledges to gradually cut their carbon emissions. It also calculates the carbon reduction value of their pledges, and totals the emissions savings of the entire community. Chester residents were able to sign up for CRed and view a special ‘going carbon neutral’ exhibition at Chester Town Hall.

Local businesses and community leaders were invited to an exclusive screening of Al Gore’s acclaimed new film ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ that highlights the threats climate change poses to society. If you haven’t seen this film, you must make it your business to do so. The film proves beyond any remaining doubt that climate change is real, that it is happening very quickly, and it also provides a fascinating comparison between the fortunes of American car makers and companies such as Toyota, in terms of a direct correlation between the energy efficiency of their products and global business success.

Commenting on the event, Andy Padmore, Dealer Principal at Lookers Saab Chester, said: “Both the carbon neutral programme and the Green Car Show illustrate how committed the city of Chester is to becoming a green place to live and work. We are proud to be involved in such a momentous occasion for Chester and are pleased that visitors were able to see the Saab 9-5 BioPower, a car that shows that being environmentally-friendly doesn’t necessarily mean you have to compromise on performance.”

Steve McNulty, Corporate Sales Manager at Lexus Chester, continues to be amazed at the public’s reaction to the Lexus hybrids. “People just can’t believe that cars such as the GS450h can run completely silently around town on just battery power, producing no emissions. There is still the perception that green cars have to be slow, small and not very attractive in appearance. When people then realise they could potentially save thousands of pounds in company car tax, they become even more interested!”

The event was organised by Chester in Partnership (Chester’s Local Strategic Partnership), and the unique pathway to carbon reduction is being offered by Chester City Council. The CRed carbon reduction system was developed by climate change experts at the University of East Anglia.