Eco-Friendly Auto Shops Like "Green Garage" Pop Up Nationwide
If you're still resisting the hybrid trend and hanging on to your beloved SUV, you no longer have to feel left out from the green trend. Let eco-friendly auto shops green-ify your vehicle--no Volt or Prius required! That is, of course, assuming such auto shops actually do what they claim. Places like "Green Garage" in Denver, Colo., and Green Drop Auto Shop in Portland, Ore., offer eco-centric tuneups for cars of all kinds. What's involved in a green tune-up, you ask? Recyclable windshield wipers, biodegradable engine additives, recycled motor oil, low-VOC paint and non-toxic shop cleansers are all part of "the works" at these increasingly popular green auto shops.
And you can bet that corporations and marketers are jumping on the bandwagon, too. Products such as "EcoTouch," a non-toxic automotive cleaner, "MicroGreen," an oil filter that promises lowered oil consumption, and many other products can be found for purchase at such auto shops.
Let's take a look at one of the green auto shop front-runners: Green Garage. "It's a dirty business, and we want to be in a constant state of learning [about] how we lighten our environmental impact," said CEO and "chief car hugger" of Green Garage, Ryan Ferrera. Green Garage first opened in Boulder, Colo., in 2009, and now a second shop can be found in Denver. While there, customers can get the "Drive Good" green tune-up package for $70, involving an oil filter that lasts up to 6,000 miles and biodegradable oil good for up to 24,000 miles. However, drivers ready to spend some serious green should spring for the shop's most expensive package, "Drive Epic," which goes for $300 to cover an oil change plus biodegradable engine additive, nitrogen-filled tires, energy-efficient spark plugs (promising to lower emissions up 25 percent) and an "energy intervention inspection" that informs drivers about how to save on fuel consumption. As usual, going green requires shelling out some green of our own.
Employed by "car huggers," "greens-keepers," and "smileage reps" (I really love that last one), Green Garage maintains trendy, minimalist trappings. Yet Green Garage isn't stopping with green auto maintenance, the shop even goes so far as to ban Styrofoam coffee cups, and employees can be seen riding bikes or mopeds to pick up customers' cars and return them.
Sound like something most drivers won't be bothered with? On the contrary, sales at the Boulder shop have grown 400 percent over the last year, and revenues at the Denver location have been doubling every 60 days since its opening. With a little help from their friends, which include an advisory board with Chrysler CEO Tom La Sorda and Whole Foods board member Bud Sorenso as well as private investors who've contributed $1 million, Green Garage intends to sell franchises nationwide this month.
Clearly there's money to be made here; however, is this a valid enterprise? "I would be skeptical of people who say they can do something to your car that can boost fuel efficiency," contended Phil Reed, a consumer advice editor for Edmunds.com. "There's little that can be adjusted, tuned up or improved in a way that would improve fuel economy more than just the regular maintenance."
Sources: NBC Today