Drivers Atone By Driving in 'Carbon' Neutral

DriveNeutral and its competitors signal a new, consumer-oriented approach to the fledgling greenhouse-gas emissions market.

Published: 06-Jan-2006

As a business and fundraising consultant, Pat Castleman drives about 1,000 miles a month. So when the Mill Valley, Calif., resident heard that she could "neutralize" the greenhouse gas pollutants emitted by her new Infiniti sedan, she jumped at the opportunity.

By signing up with DriveNeutral, a nonprofit launched in October by students at the Presidio School of Management in San Francisco, Ms. Castleman was able to calculate her "climate change footprint," using simple online calculators. To neutralize that footprint, she bought greenhouse-gas emissions reductions, also known as "carbon offsets." Castleman paid $25 to compensate for about five tons of carbon emissions a year - plus a DriveNeutral decal proclaiming her vehicle's carbon-free status.

"I always feel slightly guilty when I'm driving around the Bay Area," says Castleman. "This seemed like a great way to contribute until we can develop alternative energy."

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