The car’s the biggest thing

If you make all sorts of efforts to live an environmentally friendly, carbon neutral lifestyle, but you still drive a conventionally fuelled vehicle, then you’re spitting into the wind.

Honda Insight 447x310

The truth is that driving the car is by far the most environmentally damaging single activity most of us ever undertake.

Let me illustrate this point with what I find to be quite a startling statistic. Did you know that the USA uses up somewhere around 20 million barrels of oil every day? This is over a quarter of the entire world’s total oil usage, but has just over 4% of the world’s total population.

And by far the bulk of this usage is down to the car. So just imagine what will start to happen when the world’s two biggest countries by population (hugely bigger than the states; by a combined factor of eight times) which also happen to be the world’s two fastest developing countries, namely India and China, start to develop a middle class en-masse, who all want to own cars.

In fact, this process has already started. And it’s hypocritical for those of us who’ve enjoyed the benefits of guilt-free motoring for many years to ‘cast the first stone’ in condemning others for starting to do what we’ve been doing for so long.

But it seems to me that the least we can do is set the best example we can by choosing eco cars.

And the more we do so, the more effort the manufacturers will put into it – and the more healthy moral pressure everyone else feels in making the same choice.

The Toyota Prius and the Honda Insight are two examples of eco friendly cars that are already mass-selling vehicles. And manufacturers are already making huge leaps forward in developing all-electric cars with ever-increasing ranges. In short, we’re all fast running out of excuses.

 

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