hazardous waste (aka the chevy mailbu)

i'm a little less hazardous to the earth right now.

as you may remember, i dispise
general moters. and it stressed me out to no end to drive a chevy malibu (what a fuckin' ugly car - long story why i got it, but suffice to say, i never liked it). i really wanted to get a car that was less taxing on the environment. got better gas mileage & lets face it, looked a helluva lot smarter.

dear readers may i introduce to you to my mazda 3 - now forever known as 3:

now, i realize it's not a hybrid, but hybrids aren't really right for me in my situation (amount of highway miles vs. city miles being the big reason) - but there are a couple of things my new 2005 mazda 3 has that certainly make it better than the 'bu:

  • better fuel mileage - i should be able to hit 35 mpg on the freeway (a damn sight better than the malibu ever made).
  • it's a manual
  • it's used. for me it's not just about putting another car on the road, i'd rather find a car that needs a good home, than breed a new one onto the freeway - hey, it's just like getting yer next dog or cat at the shelter rather than pet store.

i've also signed up with terra pass (go ahead and get yours, you know you wanna. all the cool kids are doing it).

terra pass neutralizes (or more accurately offsets) your car's environmental impact by supporting projects that reduce greenhouse gasses. here's how (using 3 as an example):

  • 3 emits approx. 9,312 lbs of carbon dioxide (co2) in one year (more than 3x it's own physical weight)
  • i pay terra pass a yearly fee ($49.95/depends on make/model & how much you drive)
  • terra pass subsidizes projects that reduce greenhouse gas such as:
    -an entrepreneurial wind farmer receives funds to expand his plant.
    - small dairy farmer gets capital to install digesters on his farm to control methane emissions.
  • my terra pass is certified to eliminate the equivalent of 3's carbon dioxide emissions

(fyi, the malibu emitted approx. 11,973 lbs of co2 - malibu huh...? sounds aptly named considering the amount of smog out there in malibu)

for giggles, i put some friends car into the co2 calculator (check yours here) to see what they look like (names have been changed, but models remain - no disses intended, i love all my friends and their driving choices):

rae / subaru outback: 10,428 lbs of CO2 per year

bc / mini convertible: 8,236 lbs of CO2 per year

camelback / dodge magnum: 11,445 lbs of CO2 per year

dorothy parker / nothing: 0, she's a public transportation diva

barnes / land rover: 14,223 lbs of CO2 per year

so there you have it. i have a kick ass new car that i love love love and i'm doing something good for the planet (for only $49.95). sure the blue is a little oftputting (it's growing on me - i've never had such a bright car), but it's fun as fuck to drive and the dash looks like something out of star trek.

i be a happy boy.


Ray aka rae said...

So very kewl!! I especially like the dash. Congrats.

The subaru was 10,212 lbs (different model). According to your site.

I wonder how they calculate this? The chemist in me is aching to know.

It's all stoichiometry, I should be able to figure it out...annual consumption of octane - yes, this is easy. Let's see if we agree with the EPA. They're all government chemists:)

OK - implicit assumptions. 25mpg/year. 12,000 miles driven per year. 25 mpg from EPA average. 12,000 based on current rate of miles accumulated to date in car. Assume Octane as major constituent (can't be bothered with others components). Assume 20 degrees Centigrade. No other things burning (sorry, shitty assumption).

1. 25 mpg, 12,000 miles = 480 gallons/yr.

2. 480 g = 1817 liters/yr (1.817 kiloliters).

3. density of Octane 0.702 kg/l

4. use 2 & 3 to get to weight 1275.5 kg octane/year.

5. Molecular weight of octane is 114.23 g/mole.

6. Use 4 & 5 11,189 moles of octane consumed per yr.

7. Avogadro's # 6.022 x 10^23 molecules per mole.

8. Use 6 and 7 means 6.74 x 10^27 moles consumed per yr. Yow!

9. Balanced combustion of octane is: 2(C8H18) + 25 O2---> 16CO2 + 18 H20.

10. Ratio of 6.74 x 10^27 molecules of Octane/2 molecules of Octane = x molecules of CO2/16 CO2. X = 5.34 x 10^28 molecules of CO2 per yr consumed.

11. OK - that's a lot of CO2/yr.

12. 5.34 x 10^28 molecules of CO2 = 89479 moles of CO2 (use Avo's #).

13. Molecular weight of CO2 = 44g/mole. Ratio 44g/mole=x g/89479 moles. X = 3,937,076 grams. Convert to kg (divide by 1000) X = 3937 kg/yr

14. OK - 3937kg = 8,679.6 lbs/year

OK - I'm a little under they're estimate but still in the neighborhood.

This is for one car.

So I am 15% below their estimate.

Still, a lot of shit for one car. And there are hundreds of thousands it not millions. So, let's assume 1,000,000 cars in the world. Assume the overall average is 25 mpg. It's BS, I know. Live with it.

8.679 x 10^9 lbs. That's 8,769,600,000 lbs of CO2. Only from cars. We've not thought about

a) industry
b) agriculture
c) natural sources of C02
d) unknown sources of CO2.

Stop breathing!!

Six Shooter said...

Very nice! I need to get a car with much better gas mileage too.

Joe said...

I'm glad you posted TerraPass. Something I've never heard of before. After seeing An Inconvenient Truth I feel like I should be doing more. Thanks for the information.

cb said...

I'll probably do the terra pass thingy too. God, I feel so responsible and adult! (and liberal!!!)

Also, "3" is a shitty name for a car.

Now if it were Three of Nine or something, I could get into that...

landry said...

oh GOD Ray...
all those numbers and calculations made me weep.

i dont have to worry
i have no need of a car in NYC
but when i did have a car here, I had a Mazda. i HEART mazdas.

congrats baby!!!!!

Scott E D said...

But what was the mileage on Miss Parker?

Ray said...


I'm dying here for affection...just dying. Thanks Jen:)

Math is hard, let's go shopping.

Car=time for Ray. ptrans is great here except it takes 1.5 hrs door to door.

Larry said...

Sweet car man!!