Christine Stuart photo

If you accepted a tofurkey, lettuce, and vegenaise sandwich from Colleen Higgins and Ashley Byrne of Peta Tuesday morning you received two free gallons of gas.

Why?

“Because going vegan is the single most effective action they can take,” Byrne said, standing on the corner of Capitol Avenue and Broad Street in Hartford wearing nothing more than strategically placed lettuce leaves.

She said the United Nations reported that the meat industry is responsible for more green house gas emissions than all transportation combined.

Christine Stuart photo

A vegan for more than 12-years, Byrne attributed her beauty, which did not go unnoticed by the passing cars and gas station customers, to her vegan lifestyle. She said it’s been amazing for her health, weight and energy levels.

Dominic, one of the partners in the gas station who refused to give his last name, said he stopped by to thank the girls for giving him a boost in business. “We’re not making much money right now,” he said. And at $4.05 per gallon for regular, it’s hard to get customers to walk into the convenience store to spend more money. “It’s hard after the $4 per gallon sticker shock,” he said.

Byrne who lives in Washington D.C. and Higgins who lives in Norfolk, Virginia, where Peta is headquartered, said because they live a vegan lifestyle they were able to off-set the emissions from their drive. Higgins said if every family replaced one chicken dinner a week with a vegan alternative, it would off-set the carbon emissions of 500,000 cars on the roadway.

Byrne said eating just a single pound of meat is the environmental equivalent of driving more than 40 miles.

According to a Peta press release, researchers at the University of Chicago determined that switching to a vegan diet is more effective at countering global warming than switching from a standard car to a Toyota Prius.

The girls’ next stop is Providence, Rhode Island where they will hand out another 50 tofurkey sandwiches and pump another 100 gallons of gas.