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?