14 October 2010

Solar-Powered Car, Anyone?

I took one of those carbon footprint quizzes the other day.

I live in an apartment where gas and heat are included. Electric is billed, but the building (not the apartment) is metered by the city, so I don't get a detailed bill.

I tried to remember the amounts of gas and electric I used to use when I lived in places where I got individualized bills; I left blank the part about heating oil.

And then I calculated the number of miles I drive every month. Not pretty, with a one-way commute of 55 miles. And for the first time it dawned on me that, yes, it takes gasoline when I spend an hour in the car each way every weekend so I can go hiking. Even at the 38 mpg I get in my Honda Fit.

Not surprisingly, the output of this quiz was that the vast majority of my carbon footprint comes from transportation.

And there's so little I can do about it. I can take the train to work more often. I could give up hiking, but I'm not willing to do that. Next car, I think, will have to be a hybrid.

(By the way, it's week seven, and I made one trip to work on the train again this week.)