The green movement is affecting every kind of business, from hotels to auto manufacturing. It's affecting them in different ways, but the differences can be illuminating.

In the auto industry, the challenge for the first generation of hybrid cars was to demonstrate that you could take fuel economy to the next level without sacrificing performance or frills. The Toyota Prius proved it. So did the Honda Civic Hybrid, which is virtually indistinguishable from its conventional cousin in terms of size, performance and amenities.

Now, the car companies are putting hybrid powertrains in a variety of other vehicles, such as SUVs and upscale sedans, pairing hybrid efficiency with increasing levels of performance and luxury.

Things began differently in the hotel industry. The first hotels to go the extra mile on energy conservation and the environment are upscale luxury brands. They're not trying to prove that you can go green and still have it all; they're making the case that you don't really have it all unless you're going green.

An avowed goal of the 1 brand launched by Barry Sternlicht's Starwood Capital Groupis to make environmental purity a defining characteristic of the luxury hotel experience.

Similarly, Revolution Places, launched by former AOL chief Steve Case, has equated sustainability with a new definition of luxury.

As we move from Green 1.0 to 2.0 and beyond, we may reach the point when the auto industry will roll out a high-performance luxury sedan that goes 100 miles on the energy in an olive pit, and that will be grand.

We also hope that, someday, smart energy use and sustainability will be defining characteristics of hospitality in general, not just luxurious hospitality.

It would seem that the hospitality industry has the lesser of these two challenges. Will it rise to that challenge?

Dog days?

We're in the dog days of August, typically a slow period. Our news reporters are accustomed to taking vacations in August, secure in the knowledge that they're not likely to miss a big story.

Boy, were they wrong this year. August has produced more than its usual share of arresting developments and newsy headlines. Some highlights:

Sabre and Amadeus started a joint venture to operate a global travel payment clearinghouse for thousands of agents and hundreds of suppliers around the world.

British Airways agreed to pay more than $500 million in fines for criminal price-fixing. Korean paid $300 million, and more airlines could be named any day.

Galileo figured out a way to efficiently display Air Canada's unique menu of bundled and unbundled fares in a graphical interface for Canadian agents.

AirTran's long battle to take over Midwest Airlines erupted into a bidding war with a private equity group, in which Northwest is a passive investor.

Hertz, the most recognized name in car rentals, introduced a subsidiary brand for the first time in its 89-year history.

Virgin America got airborne, at last.

Lots of times, people will come back from vacation around here and ask, "What'd I miss?" Usually the answer is "not much."

Not this year.

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