As the accompanying chart shows, if you own and operate a sport-utility vehicle (SUV), you’ll have a lot of tree planting to do to offset your annual emissions from driving that monstrosity. At approximately $200 per tree (a rather low estimate), owners of SUVs would need to spend more than $25,000 a year planting trees just offset the pollution they are causing. For those of use who prefer to walk or bike as much as possible, our cost would be near zero.
While far from perfect, riding the local bus system reduces your emission output by 50% from SUVs and rail reduces it almost 2/3’s. If you must drive a car, the chart clearly shows the advantages of using a hybrid car or carpooling. These reduce your emissions output by a factor of three to four versus driving alone and a factor of six from driving an SUV.
Sadly, Ford recently announced it was virtually eliminating sedans and almost exclusively producing cross-overs, SUVs, and small trucks in the future. This decision is a recipe for environmental and climate disaster and this author predicts will likely be the company’s path to eventual oblivion if not reversed soon, as smarter and more nimble manufacturers build environmentally friendly vehicles.
As the owner of a Ford hybrid car, it’s hard to understand why some automotive executives in Detroit don’t ever get the fact that gas-guzzlers are the modern-day equivalent of dinosaurs. Any short-term profits will be quickly wiped out by the losses that are sure to follow when gas prices rise, pollution increases, and the effects of climate change become more widespread.
It was such short-term thinking and greed that got Detroit’s Big 3 into trouble both in the 1970s and in the 2000s. For the moment GM and Fiat/Chrysler seem to get it. Ford…not so much. Three strikes and you’re out, gang. The public will not be sympathetic this time when the evidence was crystal clear.