Is This the Most Eco-Friendly Car Innovation Since the Hybrid?


photo/Sabertec

Forget hydrogen. The most eco-friendly thing to happen to cars since the hybrid might just be an after-market device that attaches to your tail pipe and costs a mere $199.If you don't bike to work or at least drive a hybrid, chances are you feel a little guilty about your contribution to global warming when you log up the fossil-fueled miles you travel each day.

But Blade, a new device that can attach to the tail pipe of pretty much every car on the freeway, might change all that.

The device filters particulate matter as well as other solid inorganic emissions that would otherwise end up in your lungs. It improves the efficiency of your catalytic converter to lower emissions. And it increases the volumetric efficiency of the engine, helping your engine to burn more efficiently so that it increases fuel economy and reduces CO2.

According to Sabertec, which developed Blade, the gadget can reduce vehicle air pollution up to 57 percent and greenhouse gases up to 34 percent while increasing fuel economy up to five miles per gallon in lab testing. Here's the direct quote: "If every car and light truck in American had a Blade, drivers would save over $42 billion per year, and the nation's total greenhouse gas reduction would be equivalent to removing roughly 50 million cars from the road."

And here's the kicker: It costs just $199 for the device and filters to last for two years (plus installation), and will cost you only $20 per year to replace the filters after that. Cars built before 1996 will need one very 3,000 miles, while late-model autos every 10,000.

Sound unbelievable?

The California Air Resources Board is a believer—they licensed the device earlier this year. Blade was also accepted by the Environmental Protection Agency. And because it increases fuel efficiency, thus cutting down on fueling costs, Sabertec's CEO Bill O'Brien thinks Blade has the potential to convert even the non-environmentally minded—which means big dividends in terms of environmental benefits.

"In order to really have an impact on air pollution and environmental issues it has to cross over, it can't just [appeal to] environmentally minded people," O'Brien said in an interview on Monday. "The big benefit of Blade is that it crosses over, it gives a benefit to the environmentalist, certainly, but it also gives a financial benefit to folks who might not have the disposable income or a real understanding of environmental issues."

For environmentally minded folks, Blade also works with hybrids, and a diesel (veggie or otherwise) version is in the works.

Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff from EcoStiletto.com talks with Bill O'Brien of Sabertech and EcoOptimizes her car with a new Blade device.

Are you a believer in Blade? Sheryl Crow, Ben Harper and Laura Dern are. And Crystal Method. Even Alter Eco's Darren Moore's on board!

Tags: Driving | Fuel Efficiency | Hybrid Cars | Transportation