Should Vegans Drive Cars?

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This is a question that I’ve seen asked multiple times.

While I think it’s usually in an attempt to try and prove vegans as hypocrites in order to justify their own behavior, I think it’s an interesting question nonetheless.

And in some cases, the question is asked to genuinely try to understand how vegans think about certain issues.

Is Diesel or Petrol (Gas) Vegan Itself?

One of the main points brought up is that fossil fuels contain animals in them.

This is partially true, but also a common misconception.

The vast majority of fossil fuels were made before dinosaurs even existed, from the dead remains of plants and simple organisms.

Additionally, even if they did contain significant amounts of dinosaur remains, that wouldn’t be an issue. Those dinosaurs are long dead and it’s not like there was any human involvement that caused their death.

So the fuel itself is fine, but there’s more to consider…

What About The Impact of Cars and Fuel On The Environment

Extracting oil and the occasional oil spill has a negative impact on animals and the environment in general.

That’s a very legitimate argument and concern against using products made from oil in general (this includes gas, plastics, etc.).

And most vegans definitely do care about these things, even though being environmentally friendly isn’t a direct part of being vegan.

There’s a big overlap between environmentalists and vegans.

vegan environmentalist overlap

It’s not very common, but some vegans do boycott all plastic products.

But most don’t, why not?

Zero Impact While Living Is Impossible

Almost everything you do has some sort of negative impact somewhere.

While you could just stop doing anything and die, I think it’s safe to say that most people aren’t going to do this.

And that’s factored into how most people think about veganism.

While there’s no “one” definition of veganism, here’s how the Vegan Society defines it:

Veganism is a way of living that seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing and any other purpose.

I think most vegans feel that’s accurate to how they try to live.

The most important part is: “as far as possible and practicable.”

Let’s apply it to driving and fuel consumption:

  • Flying across the world for holidays? Pretty reasonable to not do.
  • Driving someone to the hospital? Of course that’s reasonable.

Those are the 2 extremes here. Most other forms of driving fall in-between (going to work, getting groceries, going on local trips, etc.).

Depending on a person’s exact situation, it may be possible and practical to avoid driving. For others it may not be.

There’s definitely a good argument to be made that vegans generally try to limit how much they drive (and even plastic use).

However, those products are ingrained into daily life and there’s not always a reasonable alternative.

Each vegan has to figure out how to minimize their own use as far as possible and practicable for them.

Being vegan isn’t about being perfect, it’s about trying to be the best people we can be.

About the author

Dale C.

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance writer. Trying to do my small part in making the world better by writing about the wonderful world of veganism.

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