Are you green? Or red?

Our road emissions calculator is pretty old by internet standards. This week we gave it a minor upgrade with a great new feature: you can now see your carbon emissions relative to the average U.S. car.

Check it out, and give us some feedback — what else would you like to see in our carbon footprint calculators?

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  1. GreenDivaMeg - February 6, 2008

    i used this last year to help me choose this car! i compare okay, but clearly i would feel better about my carbon tonage if i could get into a hybrid at least! hoping to make that happen this year. thanks for the good work (and keeping the pressuare applied, gently, but surely).

  2. Anonymous - February 6, 2008

    When you estimate an individual’s or family’s carbon footprint, it would seem fair to ask how much land they own and what they do with it. For example is it a half acre of suburban lawn that gets mowed and watered regularly or is it a tract of 100 acres of trees with little intervention by the owners. Wouldn’t it help to tell folks how many trees or mercanthus grass plants they need to offset their automobile or airtravel carbon foot prints?

  3. Tracy - February 6, 2008

    Just one nit. It would be nice if you could include a criterion for whether the car is powered using an alternative fuel such as biodiesel. My 84 Benz would be a monster according to this calculation. Feedstock controversies aside, if you consider the 78% carbon reduction achieved according to the DOE, then my footprint is actually lower than my Prius.

  4. Tracy - February 6, 2008

    I would like to see actual gas milage as a criteria. My husband drives a Passat and gets higher gas milage than stated on the sticker. The calculator rates his car in the red zone, but I think it’s better than that.

  5. Pete - February 6, 2008

    Hi Tracy,
    We have an option for doing this (we obviously need to make it clearer!). Try entering actual gas mileage at
    Thanks for the feedback!

  6. Anonymous - February 6, 2008

    One question: When comparing the two cars with the same gas mileage, can we assume that they produce the same amount of greenhouse gases? Or is there any secret sauce in the car design that makes one produce less than the other one?

  7. Melissa - February 6, 2008

    I would love to see the dates extend farther back, if possible. I have a 1980 Mercedes diesel 300TD, but the oldest date you have is 1985. My guess is that you don’t have reliable fuel efficiency data going back that far?

  8. Adam Stein - February 6, 2008

    Anon —
    Short answer: miles per gallon is what matters. The amount of CO2 you create is a function of how much gas you burn, nothing else. Aspects of car design can affect other pollutants that come from your car, but not CO2.
    Longer answer: what matters is the *actual* miles per gallon your car gets, not what it says on the sticker. Actual miles per gallon could very well be a function of your driving style and the type of car you drive. The EPA figures we use are just a (rough) approximation of your true mileage.
    Melissa — wish we could help, but the EPA only provides figures back to ’85.

  9. Russell - February 6, 2008

    I have a Jeep Rubicon, which has 6 forward speeds. It gets 22 mpg around town, not the 18 you listed and it gets 28 mpg on the highway, not the 22 listed by you. Any comment?

  10. Russell - February 6, 2008

    Why don’t you use the international standard, kilometers per year, rather than the U. S. standard, miles per year?

  11. Adam Stein - February 7, 2008

    Russell —
    We use the EPA data ( for our mileage estimates. It’s not perfect, but it seems to be the best source out there. Actually, no data set can be perfect, because your true mileage will depend on where you live and how you drive. If you have more exact figures for your car, you can use our back-up calculator to input them directly.
    We use miles because we’re based in the U.S. and sell primarily to U.S. customers. We’d like to include an international calculator as well, so hopefully you’ll see metric system on our site in the future.