One of the reasons we downsized is because we want to live more lightly on the earth. For that reason we’ve coveted the Toyota hybrid car, the Prius. We had decided if we got what we wanted for the house we would look into a buying a new car. The process of exploring was a wonderful distraction while we were in transition. We learned a lot about both hybrids and also the benefits of using bio-diesel. After much reading and shopping we purchased a 2003 Jetta TDI from the Green Car Company in late October, 2005. It’s fully loaded: black leather interior, manual transmission, CD, sunroof, and heated seats. We painted it a bright yellow (for increased visibility) while we were cycling in Europe in July 2006! We’re excited to be ending our dependance on Middle-Eastern oil and we’ve added a sticker that says Bio-Diesel: No War Required. For an overview on bio-diesel visit: BioDiesel Now.
We just came across this web site that lets you calculate your CO2 impact and even pay offsets so you can drive “carbon neutral”. After running the numbers on the car options we considered, we’re very pleased to discover our vehicle is the BIG WINNER!
Here is the info, based on our actual annual miles (7,341):
- 2006 Prius: This car uses the equivalent of 137 gallons of gasoline each year. This means it produces 2657 pounds of CO2 annually.
- 2003 VW Jetta (gas): This car uses the equivalent of 194 gallons of gasoline each year. This means it produces 3763 pounds of CO2 annually.
- 2003 VW Jetta (diesel): This car uses the equivalent of 223 gallons of gasoline each year. This means it produces 4326 pounds of CO2 annually.
- 2003 VW Jetta (biodiesel): This car uses the equivalent of 48 gallons of gasoline each year. This means it produces 931 pounds of CO2 annually.
As of May 2008 we made the decision to NOT fly to New Zealand for a month of cycling and touring due to the impact on our carbon footprint. You can read more about this decision and found a wealth of related resources on our Fly Less page.