If the new Eco-Drive program catches on, carbon offsets could one day be be as built-in as power windows. The theory is simple: dealers who buy into Eco-Drive purchase enough carbon offsets to balance off all the emissions a driver will create over a year of their vehicle ownership. Offsets are supplied by LivClean, a carbon offset retailer endorsed by the David Suzuki/Pembina Institute, who invests in emission-reducing projects like renewable wind energy farms, diverting waste from landfill, and using alternative fuels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Winston Auto Group recently contacted me to communicate their excitement at joining the pilot program. “As a dealership I think we are often automatically put into the anti-green category.” says Winston’s Managing Prtner, Amanda Mungal. ” But we like to think of ourselves as selling re-used cars, we’ve started a recycling program for our shared offices and now we will be able to purchase offsets for all of our vehicles.”

The customer is emailed a certificate that indicates there emissions have been offset for one year, and one Eco-Drive news release page states that “The program also aims to educate drivers on behavioral changes that will reduce driving related emissions like anti-idling, proper car maintenance and eco-fuel choices such as ethanol blend gasoline.”

Sounds like an interesting idea, and I’m all for anything that keeps an environmental message on the radar during any purchase experience. It will be interesting to see how they massage the messaging for dealerships where eco-responsibility is not high on the decision-making priority list.

And as this is a pilot program, Eco-Drive may want to consider a more unique and specific brand name. There are a lot of competing web links out there (just Google Eco-Drive to see what I mean).

So let’s watch and see where the rubber meets the road on this offset sticker option program!

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