Innovative Car Design
The above site has an article about what car manufacturers are doing in California to lower the carbon footprints of their vehicles. There are some really great things in here that even I hadn't thought about much before now.
They are working on technology to improve the quality of glass on car windshields and windows that reflects the Sun's rays, which would help to keep your car from turning into a greenhouse when you stop at the grocery store in the summer. This would decrease the need for A/C use in our cars, which are more fuel efficient when the A/C isn't running.
Another thing they are currently working on is changing the chemical makeup of the paint used on cars to make it more reflective. We're all familiar with the "albedo effect" even if we don't know the term. It is the idea that has us wearing light colored shirts in the summer, because they keep us cooler than dark colored shirts.
Albedo is the reflectivity of a surface; a high albedo means a lot of the Sun's rays reflect off the surface and are not absorbed into the surface (a light colored t-shirt, for example), a low albedo means very few of the Sun's rays are reflected off the surface, and most are absorbed (as in a dark colored t-shirt).
Right now, those of us with white colored cars can use less A/C than our dark car driving counterparts, because less of the Sun's rays are absorbed into our cars to heat us up. So, perhaps our cars need a few more washes to look spiffy? We're equipped to be more carbon efficient than those with darker colored cars.
If you're in the market for a car right now, the new windshield and paint technology isn't available, but perhaps you'll consider purchasing a lighter colored car, to do what you can for the environment until technology catches up!