What Price Green? Not Much

Gary S. Vasilash

According to a recent Gallup poll on the environment, when asked “whether protection of the environment should be given priority ‘even at the risk of curbing economic growth,’ or if economic growth should have priority ‘even if the environment suffers to some extent,’” the economic gets the advantage 48% to 43%.


The environment is gaining some traction, but not a whole lot.

One interesting aspect is that among the 18- to 29-year old age group, the environment gets the edge by a slight 49% to 47%. For those 65 and older, the environment is trounced, 37% to 53%. Presumably the latter have less time on the planet to worry about CO2 emissions and the like.

Which brings us to another survey, this one from the U.K., were drivers were asked about the importance of carbon neutrality when it comes to vehicle selection. Carbon neutrality for things like cars is achieved through things like buying carbon credits, which are generated by doing things like planting trees and setting up renewable energy facilities.

In this survey, conducted by What Car?, a consumer magazine, and CNI UK Limited, which is a provider of carbon offsets, they asked UK drivers about their interests in more carbon-neutral car purchases.

Asked “When purchasing your next vehicle, which cars would you consider purchasing?”, 38% responded, “A carbon offset vehicle.” Which is presumably good.

When asked “How much would you be prepared to pay to make a vehicle carbon neutral for a year?”, the average answer was £47, which is, according to CNI, as much as 300% more than it would actually cost to carbon neutralize the average family car in the U.K.

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They drilled down asking about the expected price to make a Ford Fiesta 1.6 Duratec carbon neutral, and the average figure was £68. Apparently, the actual cost of doing so is some £10.

CNI managing director Edward Carlton admitted, “There is clearly an education job to be done by companies like CNI as the perception of costs associated with carbon neutrality is significantly higher than the reality, which means, in many cases, the motorist can reduce environmental impact, drive the vehicle they desire, and not spend a fortune achieving this happy balance—which is good new all ‘round.”