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 :>)