Five Percent: Conserve Energy

Climate Change Is Important: Energy Conservation is the First Step

May 7, 2006

TerraPass: Pay For What You Do Use

Category: Companies,Cool Sites,Economics,Take Actions,Technology,Transportation – Tom Harrison – 8:08 pm

TerraPass is a simple idea: pay for what you use. If you drive your car you’re sending CO2 and other greenhouse gasses into the air. But this is a cost that isn’t accounted for (no, your gas taxes go to pay for roads and many other things … but not for the cost of pollution). So if you must drive, you can pay your share. TerraPass has a calculator that figures the amount of CO2 your vehicles produce each year, you purchase TerraPasses at a rate based on that. You get a window and bumper sticker for your car so you can spread the word. And TerraPass uses this money to fund clean energy projects. A pretty good deal all around.

Except that it’s voluntary. Too bad our gas taxes are mostly being used to make it easier to drive cars. It would seem that perhaps this kind of thing would be a wonderful thing for localities, states and enen (gasp) the federal government to add to the current gas price as part of the taxes we already pay.

First, the cost of the TerraPass is small. We’ll pay $29.25 each per year for our two Toyota Prius cars. Technically, we could get by with one for both cars, since we drive less than 12,000 miles per year in total. If you drive an SUV or performance vehicle an average amount, the cost is still only $79.95/year.

So if you’re realizing that SUV might not have been the best idea, this is a great way to help mitigate the impact. Or if you want to sneer every time one of us self-righteous, hybrid-drivin’, smug, you-know-what’s drives by with our eyebrows raised and dismissive airs, just point to your TerraPass. Feel free to mutter any seemingly appropriate (or inappropriate) words in our direction. Heck, you can point with your middle finger if it makes you feel better :-)

Or, just wear your TerraPass as a fashion statement!


  1. Our TerraPasses arrived this weekend, and today I got my first comment on my Prius’s jaunty new sticker. The comment was something like “Man, you’ve really gone off the deep end”. I have only two comments: 1) he noticed, and asked, and now knows what carbon offsets are, and 2) he was right.

    Comment by Tom Harrison — May 15, 2006 @ 7:55 pm

  2. […] a company. Ah, the Internet, saving the world, one uncomfortable moment at a time.But Ed Begley and TerraPass have started a cool card … to Earth, for Earth Day, on which we can all write a little […]

    Pingback by Write your Note to Mother Earth, it’s fun! | Five Percent: Conserve Energy — December 4, 2010 @ 9:30 pm

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