Home > Travel > Carbon Neutral Car Insurance

Carbon Neutral Car Insurance

By: Dr Gareth Evans - Updated: 26 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Carbon Dioxide Co2 Car Journeys

With road traffic said to be responsible for around 25% of the UK’s total annual carbon emissions, any attempt to lessen the impact of all that driving has got to be welcome. While there certainly are many things we can all do to help minimise our own car’s carbon footprint – such as proper tyre inflation, regular servicing and watching our fuel economy – a new approach to insurance could be poised to offer one of the best ways yet.

Carbon neutral car insurance is a fairly novel entrant into the heavily competitive world of financial services, but with unparalleled instant green-appeal as its unique selling point, it could well be the start of a trend that is destined to grow.

Cars and Carbon Offsets

At its core, carbon neutral car insurance draws on a well-established idea – carbon offsetting – and while we have all become very well acquainted with the concept when it comes to air travel, it is rather less readily thought of as an eco-tool for motorists. In many ways, however, extending it from wings to wheels represents the next logical step in our generalised move towards the much-heralded low-carbon economy. After all, CO2 is CO2, no matter which particular form of fossil fuel released it into the atmosphere.

The now-familiar mechanism behind the whole offsetting idea involves making a payment based on how much carbon dioxide your activities create, to enable an equivalent amount to be captured, elsewhere, on your behalf – in effect cancelling out your carbon debt.

Early attempts were generally fairly unsophisticated and often depended on tree-planting. Although many such schemes were genuine efforts made by sincere operators, unfortunately the lack of regulation and accountability did leave the way open for a few unscrupulous individuals to make quick – and largely fraudulent – money. Inevitably this damaged the idea’s reputation for a while.

The latest generation of carbon offsetting projects are a quite different proposition entirely – the UK government having recently led the way to establish appropriate standards and guidelines for the industry.

When it comes to carbon neutral insurance, the portfolio of offsetting schemes is broad and varied, ranging from energy efficiency campaigns in the Caribbean to long-term sustainable forestry initiatives back home in the UK. Others include work to promote renewable energy in rural India and Mongolia along with methane capturing and utilisation projects which take gas from coal mines and landfill sites and use it to generate power.

How Does It Work?

The whole thing is surprisingly simple; for every 1kg of emissions you car-use generates in a year – and the average family car typically produces 1 to 2 kg annually – you pay a fee which is then used to fund a suitable climate-friendly project to capture the same amount for you.

For it to work, you obviously need to know how much CO2 you’re responsible for in the first place – which sounds a bit daunting until you realise that you give your current insurer most of the information needed every time you get a quote. Make, model, engine size and annual mileage, coupled with readily available figures for fuel consumption and the manufacturers data on emissions enable the necessary calculations to be made – so you get a competitive price and a simple way to help the environment in a single package.

Given that no matter how green we might want to be, there are always going to be times when most of us will need to drive. Since we all need insurance to take our cars on the road, by opting for this new kind of approach we can offset the unavoidable emissions of car journeys – just like we do our long-haul flights – and make these trips carbon neutral too.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Mick
    Re: New Build Grants and Funds
    Hi We are doing a self build house and annex building which is a small lodge. We are considering ground source heat pumps and…
    22 September 2020
  • Molly Moon
    Re: Grants Available For Your Business
    We are in the process of registering as a CIC with the intention of running a community garden sourcing produce for green…
    26 August 2020
  • Mitch
    Re: New Build Grants and Funds
    My rugby club are about to progress the redevelopment of our 18 acre Freehold site. There will be significant scope & space for both…
    24 August 2020
  • ALZ
    Re: Grants Available For Your Business
    Is there any grants or funding available in Scotland for a new business taking on a commercial property from local council…
    11 August 2020
  • Bernard01
    Re: Grants Available For Your Business
    Small village bakery trying to expand to do wholesale replace single shop front window by double glaze shop front door…
    31 July 2020
  • Bernard
    Re: Grants Available For Your Business
    I’m a small business owner with a little village bakery I want to expand next door is there any grants available as I need…
    31 July 2020
  • Smurph
    Re: Loft Insulation
    We are currently building a new timberframe house, we are looking to put solar thermal and solar panels on our building, are there any grants out…
    15 July 2020
  • Emove
    Re: Grants Available For Your Business
    Hi, I have a new established company which is a clothing brand for the e o friendly community, We promote eco friendly…
    10 July 2020
  • Chrissy
    Re: Are There Any Grants for Water Treatment Systems?
    There are 7 of us households that have dated septic tanks with soakaways running to a stream. How do we…
    10 July 2020
  • Wes
    Re: Grants Available For Your Business
    I am seeking a grant to help out my struggling minority owned business. We haven't been able to pay the landlord for 3…
    2 June 2020