Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Clean conscience

Like many people in California I drive to and from work. In truth there is little choice unless you want to embark on a public transport system that would take twice the time and cost pretty much the same amount. I am due to change my car in a few months and have been getting my mind around the idea of buying a Toyota Prius. For the record I can’t say I like these cars very much. I fall in to the group that thinks they are relatively ugly. However, as someone that believes we need to do our part for the environment, a Prius seems the best bet. That said, when you look at the cost of a Prius, which is after all a pretty basic car, you realize that you are paying about a $10,000 premium to drive a car that is more eco friendly. As someone who typically owns a car for about three years that isn’t too bad when spread over the cars life - or is it? I’ve been looking at TerraPass.com which, like CarbonNeutral.com in the UK, gives you a chance to buy carbon credits for all the nasty emissions your life produces. For example, you can pay about $200 and that will apparently make your home carbon neutral for a year, a similar sum would handle emissions from most people’s annual air travel. When it comes to cars the TerraPass site estimated the cost of clearing out my emissions to be $50 a year for my current vehicle or $30 a year for a Prius. You can see where this is going can’t you? So for $150 I could make up for my car’s emissions during its time in my hands. Put another way if I bought a slightly more attractive car that actually cost less than the Prius but wasn’t as eco friendly I could use the saving to buy a massive amount of carbon credits. Indeed I’d likely have enough credits for all the people that read this article. So what do I do? Should I buy the Prius and feel good about it’s eco stats or get something cheaper and buy each of you a carbon credit?

5 comments:

Hubber said...

Buy the hybrid and help drive the price down.

I went for the Civic Hybrid to get away from the ugliness of the Prius.

Diana Wilson said...

My next car will be Prius too. Why? For the CAR POOL PASS.

ARguy said...

Tim - you could get a 911 (2007 Porsche Carrera 2 S Coupe automatic transmission) and only have to shell out $50 a year to off-set

The would almost certainly have a much longer life than a Toyota, have better resale after 3 years, and you don't need to deal with a) the issue of battery disposal or b) the environmental issues associated with nickel mining - http://clubs.ccsu.edu/recorder/editorial/editorial_item.asp?NewsID=188

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