I heard something on the radio a couple days ago that really disturbed me. No, it wasn't a bad cover of a Beatles song. It was an ad for Allstate car insurance.
Yes, with Allstate Green
, you no longer have to feel guilty about driving your car as much as you want. When you sign up for this option, Allstate sends $30 to Carbonfund.org
, which in theory "offsets" the carbon dioxide emitted from your driving for a year.
We already know what I think about carbon offsets
. And here is a prime example of why. You sign up one time for this plan. The reduction in guilt costs you nothing. In fact, Allstate donates money to cover one year's worth of carbon, but you might as well take credit as long as you have their insurance (or until this darn drought ends, which ever comes first).
Allstate gets you on electronic bill paying (part of the plan), which saves them more than enough money to pay for the discount you get plus the one-time donation.
So, sounds like a win-win, right? You get a discount on your insurance (which you could have gotten anyway), Allstate gets you committed to an electronic bill payment plan, and some solar energy or tree planting project gets a bit more cash.
Except, you have one more reason not to worry about reducing your driving. Your miles have already been offset, so they don't count. Kind of like when you sign up for Weight Watchers, and the calories you eat don't count any more. But you know they do.
Face it. This is only a marketing ploy by Allstate to jump on the green bandwagon. In fact, if you want the lower insurance rates, go ahead and sign up for automatic bill pay (it is greener, but recognize that it will be harder for you to cancel or change your insurance carrier). And, drive less. Today, insurance companies charge you a bit less for cars that aren't driven as much.
In a promising development, a few states (not Colorado) have experimented with something called Pay-As-You-Drive insurance. This is a plan in which your insurance cost is directly based on the number of miles you drive (e.g., a few cents per mile). Such plans are shown to reduce consumer costs by giving consumers more control over how much they spend on insurance, while also reducing number of miles driven. Sounds like a great idea -- cut out the fake green and actually do something constructive.
Labels: business, climate, Colorado, consumers, environment, transportation