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Chipmunks and Squirrels

8:36 AM, Oct 6, 2010 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Matt Labash dishes out advice on the environmental damage done when a Toyota Prius runs over a chipmunk and a squirrel:

Last week, I ran over (on separate days) a chipmunk and a squirrel. Does the fact that I did so while driving a Prius in Eco mode offset the environmental damage done? Thanks. – Jason, Baltimore

That really depends, Mr. Baltimore, or Jason, if I may. First off, we should offer condolences to the families of the deceased chipmunk and squirrel. At least they can take comfort knowing that their loved ones died cleanly and greenly.

Second, if you were driving in Eco mode, you probably know that you were maximizing fuel savings in all driving conditions, that you were modifying your air conditioner’s operation, and that you reduced your fossil-fuel consumption by anywhere from 10-20 percent. So I don’t have to congratulate you. You’re a Prius driver, meaning you already congratulate yourself.

But not so fast. You neglected to say what became of the squirrel and chipmunk carcasses. Did you just leave them on the road? Or did you gather them up and compost them, or at least dispose of them in a biodegradable trash bag? If you just left them, the vultures probably got them. And if they’re gassy vultures, that means they released harmful methane emissions into the environment after eating your kill. So the next time you hit something, you might think about contacting your Prius dealer to purchase vulture-fart carbon credits. We can’t save all the chipmunks of today. But we can save the environment for the chipmunks of tomorrow.

Read more of his advice here.

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