Just As I Thought

Balance your cosmos (or at least, your car)

This is a rather cool idea — TerraPass. Basically, you figure out the impact your car has on the environment, then you buy a TerraPass, which uses the money to fund clean energy programs to offset the pollution from your car. Thus, you get a kind of karmic balance, offsetting the pollution you generate with funding to clean it up! You even get a neat sticker.
It turns out that my car generates a smidge over 3,000 lbs of CO2 per year, which is pretty impressive considering that the average SUV puts out 12,000 lbs. So, I could get a TerraPass for $30, which would offset 6,000 lbs of CO2, leaving me with a positive balance in karma. Cool!


  • Nice idea, but even your “energy saving” cold-dynamic-braking car puts out more pollution than you may think.

    What did it take to make that huge, lead laden battery in the trunk? You don’t get off that easy. That thing might as well be made out of plutonium.

    What we really need to see is better mass transit in places like San Jose, CA, where you can wait an hour for a bus during peak times.

  • Glad someone else knows about the understated battery issue… oh, and where does that battery go when it dies out? I assure you it does not biodegrate.
    But, it’s still more earth friendly than my Silverado which tapped out at a staggering 14,672 lbs of CO2.
    Man, there’s a hole in the ozone layer dedicated just to me…

  • Oh, the battery will degrate [sic], alright, when the Sun turns into a red giant.

    (By the way, you can recycle that stuff. It’s just not so easy. Oh, but the cost to replace the batter — oy! Even worse: the cost to replace that transmission. My dad found out the easy way, because his car was still under warranty. It’s $12,000! Now, I understand that the price has come down a bit since my dad’s experience, but it’s still prohibitively expensive. I like the idea of these cars, but there are definitely issues to consider when buying one.)

    Personally, I really liked those all-electric GM cars that were TAKEN BACK by GM last year. Those are good get-around-town cars.

    Otherwise, I use a motorcycle, except when it rains (even if I did break my FOOT recently and may one day end up with a smushed skull). Motorcycles are cool. When it rains, however, I drive around in a 1976 Buick Skylark. I’ve got a personal attachment to the car & besides, smog rules are now relaxed on it, although not eliminated. Some woman in Sacramento managed to push a bill through the State Assembly making it so that cars, starting with 1974, I believe, still must pass some sort of smog check. I’ve been meaning to send her hate mail. Just haven’t had the time to do it.

  • Okay, well… first off, I don’t think that the batteries (except the regular 12v one) in a Prius are Lead Acid. And considering that they are designed to last so long (heck, they have a complete replacement warranty for 8 years), that’s better than most cars in the long run. Toyota has a recycling policy for those batteries.
    The Prius itself is manufactured with as much recycled materials as possible, from the metal to the plastic.
    Anyway. My car is the cleanest, greenest car that is available in the consumer marketplace, and is incredibly clean when compared to other vehicles. So, while it’s not perfect, I’m not going to nitpick it to death.
    Mass transit in San Jose would be nice; unfortunately, the city opted for a pretty much useless light rail system which goes nowhere and moves nobody. DC’s transit is pretty bad, designed only for moving government employees in and out of the city, but still it is exponentially better than San Jose.
    Stranger still, at my last place in south San Jose, I could walk to the grocery store and other basic services. Here in the older, northern part of San Jose, I can walk to — ready for this? — a gas station.

  • Ouch! Sounds like a parent talking about his kid! (The smartest, the cutest, the funniest, etc…)

    You’re right, by the way. It looks like the Prius uses a Panasonic Prismatic HV NiMH. No or very little lead.

    Oh, and that light rail. Why didn’t they run it all the way to the Fremont BART station? Now, that’s stupid. Instead, “they,” whoever that is, decided to run BART all the way to the light rail (an extremely expensive proposition).

    Does the gas station you can walk to have a mini mart, at least?

  • The interesting thing about my huge, gas-guzzling, monster of a truck (with the amazing torque of the Chevy V-Tech) is that I actually NEED all that.
    But, it goes without saying- “If your truck pollution is 5 1/2 times greater than your liberal, gay cousin’s hippie car… you might be a redneck.”
    Ah, that felt so dirty.

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