Sunday, April 29, 2007

Carbon footprints and such

To be truly honest, I do not like air pollution. I really don't. I hate the idea of airborne particulates entering my nose cilia and by extension, my lungs.

So am I a gross polluter by driving such a gas guzzler, generally by myself? This barn of a vehicle is a 1998 Ford E-150. I purchased it because the E-Series Ford full-size vans are reputed to be very reliable, and as someone in a wheelchair, I need a reliable vehicle to get around and not get stranded. For me, reliability mattered the most. Of course, this vehicle empty is at least 5,400 lbs, about the same as a rear-wheel drive Tahoe or Expedition. The best real world economy that I get is 17 MPG. And I drive a 56 mile round trip to work M-F.

So per most of the enviros, as the sole occupant, I am emitting a HUGE carbon footprint. The result most enviros want is a huge tax on vehicles like mine (and large SUV's as well) that supposedly emit such a footprint. If I had to pay > $6 per gallon for gasoline, I couldn't work where I do. I paid $3.05 today ($58.00), and this hurts, but is at least manageable now.

I do somewhat resent that I would be penalized for driving a vehicle that suits my requirements. There are only two types of vehicles that will accommodate a rigid frame wheelchair: a full-size van modified like mine or specially modified minivans. The minis would average abous 22 MPG on my commute, but the enviros would probably consider this excessive as well. Why do I drive this far? Because as I have found, there is a certain predjudice against wheelchairs, and I Want to work...I'm not complaining, I have to try harder. I've had this position since Jan, 2005, and am happy to have it. The company is enlightened about dealing with a person's ability, although it
is 28 miles from home. And be advised that yesterday, I passed the CT Emissions Test!

I then ask, should I care about my large carbon footprint?
I can't care, because I want to work and this is a great opportunity. I only have 125,000 miles on the van, so it will last awhile. In two years, I can think about a Grand Caravan or Sienna modified and reduce my footprint. Really if I could walk, tomorrow I would buy a new Nissan Versa, the funky hatchback with a manual transmission and 36 MPG. Stop dreaming, Ralph :>)

6 comments:

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

i say just do what you have to do. of course i'm one of those global warming is crap nuts too so don't go by me, ha ha ha... and i do understand the confines of the chair, i use one myself occasionally when it is a long way. i had a lung removed and cannot get my breath lots of times, so sarge got me one of those ultralite ones and he will push me if it is far. now this is nowhere near using one all the time i know, i just wanted to say i understand how it feels a little bit. my point? i guess as usual i don't have one, i just ramble, get used to it! ha ha ha...

smiles, bee

ps: have a great day my friend!

Lynn said...

I'm with Empress Bee, you do what you have to do. If this was a perfect world, there would be mass transit that would take you, and everyone else, where they want to go, and it would accommodate people in wheelchairs, strollers, people with walkers, etc. Since this isn't a perfect world...

Joan said...

You are not a gross polluter by choice. You drive your van as a necessary mode of transportation not as a "recreational" vehicle and I absolutely do not believe you should be penalized for your "choice" of wheels. I hope, if legislation passes, lawmakers will include an exemption for individuals with special vehicle needs...it's only fair.

Ralph said...

To all, I only want sense to prevail (am I talking about government?). And we live in southwestern CT, and have a bit of an air inversion pollution area. The local paratransit vans don't even run before 8 AM...be difficult to get to work if I could rely on them for if my job was local...

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

mornin' ralph! are you going to blog or what? (tap tap tap)... just kidding...

smiles, bee

Patti said...

wow Ralph! you have fan.
P.S. Empress Bee: He is at work.