Carbon offsetting – should the automotive industry be doing more?

Climate change is no myth. It’s also no big secret that the automotive industry accounts for a large proportion of air pollution in our atmosphere.

Hands holding plants and the world clipart


Vehicles account for 15%-20% of global carbon emissions, and, on average account for 20%-30% of a typical household’s carbon footprint.

Therefore, it also lies in the hands of the automotive industry to ensure they are counteracting some of these damaging emissions.

While great progress is being made in the field of hybrid and electric cars, and they are far better for the environment than their fossil fuel alternatives, they still, unfortunately, contribute to part to the problem as they aren’t completely green.

In fact, research by the Swedish Environment Institute found that the manufacturing process of an electric car battery emits 17.5 tons of carbon dioxide.

What about carbon offsetting?

Carbon offsetting is the process which involves entities that emit carbon, or other greenhouse gases, paying into initiatives and programmes which contribute to the removal of carbon from our atmosphere.

The theory is that global warming could eventually be halted, as for each emission released into the environment, someone somewhere would be paying to offset it.

Actions such as, planting trees, restoring habitats and ecosystems would contribute to carbon offsetting.

YourPoll by JudgeService conducted a “Carbon Offset Attitude Survey” for the customers of Hendy Group.

Hendy wanted to understand their customers’ views on the environment, the impact of motoring and carbon offsetting.

The survey concluded that younger motorists are slightly greener than older motorists, however, most people accept humanity’s responsibility for carbon pollution, and many are moving towards the idea of hybrid or electric vehicles for their next car.

offsetting hendy graph
This graph shows that 32% of people surveyed intend to purchase a hybrid car next, and 21% intend to purchase an electric car next.

However, when it comes to carbon offsetting, the perception of how much it costs is way off reality. The actual figures are widely disproportionate to what people believe.

“It’s really interesting to see how our customers are thinking,” commented Hendy Commercial Director, Mark Busby.  “Most of our customers accept that climate change results from human activity and seem favourably disposed to reducing emissions or offsetting, although there is a degree of scepticism about the reliability of some offsetting activity.”

An article by actually states that the costs of offsetting a diesel car cost as little as £5 per year. They also reveal that offsetting 10 years of emissions at the point of sale can be less than 0.3% of the cars sale value.

Our survey shows that, of the people surveyed, the majority believed that the cost of offsetting a car for a year was more than £50.

hendy cost graph
The perceived costs of carbon offsetting are “more than £50” when in reality that number is much lower.

This means there is a huge opportunity here to appeal to a market which has little understanding of how much carbon offsetting really costs.

As we move forward, and the UK government hopes to abandon the internal combustion engine by 2030, there needs to be a real push for carbon offsetting initiatives.

YourPoll by JudgeService is partnered with PATT, aka Plant a Tree Today Foundation. Their mission is to enable people to live a carbon-neutral lifestyle and allows anyone to purchase a package which provides them with the funds to plant as many trees it would take to offset your lifestyle.

We think it is an innovative and valuable programme and urge everyone to give it a go.

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