Voluntary carbon offset programs are a popular idea. Instead of making the more serious commitment to change vehicles – downshifting from a SUV to a compact, a compact to a hybrid or a hybrid to public transportation or bicycle (where reasonable) – someone can just pay money and let others work to clean up their pollution. While one of the more popular programs, TerraPass, claims to be effective, their program really just moves carbon pollution around on paper.
This intro is all just to say that it's a little odd for Tom at TerraPass' blog to be so critical of the way that the Chevy Suburban magically qualifies for a 28 mpg rating under the CAFE standards (it actually gets about 15 mpg). Turns out – and I'm glad TerraBlog dug this up – the Suburban is able to say it gets that many miles per gallon because it is a fuel-flex vehicle, and the possibility of ethanol in the tank ups the mpg on paper.

I think this post may be coming across as too critical of TerraPass and CAFE. Sorry about that. I know that TerraPass is doing a lot more for the environment than having a spiffy website, and I know CAFE standards have increased fuel economy and could potentially save a lot more fuel. Still, these type of paper programs will never replace actual sacrifice and change.

[Source: TerraBlog]

UPDATE: typo fixed in title

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