My Carbon Footprint


My Carbon Footprint

Ok Factcheckers out there, there is nothing scientific about what I’m writing, I’m just wondering, so hold your water.

I was looking at the PT Facebook page today and a comment by Corey piqued my interest. Is it better to trade in an older car that doesn’t get great gas mileage for a new electric or Prius or to keep it? I’m talking carbon footprint here.

When it was built 22 years ago in Germany, my Beemer created a carbon footprint the size of the Rohr Valley. But doesn’t that footprint get smaller with every mile I drive. I’m not replacing it, thus creating another carbon footprint and if one takes into account the total life of the car, am I not decreasing the carbon footprint with each mile I drive.

Using Corey’s input – Don’t the large batteries in electric cars have footprints that would overtake the decrease in the use of gasoline. And doesn’t the electricity that goes into those cars come from someplace, like coal based power plants.

So when I cruise along at 70 mpg and get 27 mpg in my 20 year old beast, am I not actually 1) slowly but surely making my cars carbon footprint smaller and 2)by not buying a replacement vehicle am I not completely eliminating the carbon footprint of the car I would have bought? Doesn’t the process of junking my car have a carbon footprint, too?

Remember, I believe in being a good steward of our planet. However, I’m simply musing that would it not be better to let the market take its course. The concept of subsidizing the cost of high mileage vehicles (electric) might actually increase the overall carbon footprint of vehicular travel. If one puts off the purchase of a Prius, Volt, or Leaf doesn’t one also put off the carbon footprint of the new vehicle? If I buy my new car 10 or 15 years from now, don’t I actually create less of an environmental issue rather than more?

Hasn’t the law of unintended consequences kicked in and by turning in my beast on a Leaf actually make things slightly worse, rather than better?


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John Van Horn

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