Good, Better, Best: Reducing Your Transportation Carbon Footprint

Good, Better, Best: Reducing Your Transportation Carbon Footprint

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This page may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that I have recommended. There is no additional cost to you whatsoever.

This is the primary in a collection of 5 articles that enable you discover methods to cut back your carbon footprint by altering your use of the principle carbon culprits within the common American’s life-style.

It’s no secret that Americans love their vehicles. We drive more miles than every other nation — 30% greater than second-place Canada. But all these miles on the highway include a excessive environmental value. The typical passenger automobile emits 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide every year.

Few of us are keen or ready to surrender our vehicles, however everybody can reduce their transportation carbon. From decreasing your carbon just a little to lots, listed below are some good, higher, and greatest steps you may take.

Carbon Footprints

Because carbon dioxide emissions are a number one reason behind climate change, measuring the quantity of carbon dioxide launched by a specific exercise can function a helpful shorthand for that exercise’s environmental influence. This greenhouse fuel measurement is named the carbon footprint of that exercise.

There are many ways to calculate your loved ones’s general carbon footprint, which could be larger or decrease relying on the variety of individuals in your family, the scale of your home, how a lot and the way you journey, and myriad different main and minor selections you make all year long. Although completely different methodologies lead to considerably completely different outcomes, on average, every American generates 18.55 tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year, or 3.5 instances the worldwide common.

Transportation Footprints

According to a Union of Concerned Scientists study, the most important contributor to Americans’ carbon footprint is transportation, producing 28% of general emissions. These emissions are principally from vehicles and vehicles — solely 8% of all U.S. transportation emissions comes from airplanes or different modes of transportation, just because Americans drive a lot greater than they journey every other approach. On common, Americans drive 13,474 miles per year — equal to greater than 4 round-trip drives from New York to Dallas — in vehicles that average 25 mpg.

The excellent news is that in comparison with different emissions sources – like electricity manufacturing — we’ve quite a lot of management over how we journey and the way a lot we drive.


Driving is such an integral a part of many Americans’ lives that the thought of driving much less can sound like a hardship — and because of city improvement patterns, in lots of instances it’s. But there are some efficient steps you’re taking to chop down on emissions with out main life-style modifications.

Good maintenance practices like common tune-ups, utilizing the proper gas, altering your air filter, and checking your tire pressure will maintain your automobile working cleaner and at most gas effectivity.

Even with out decreasing how a lot you drive, you may change the way you drive to burn much less gas. Eco-drivers keep away from aggressive driving (that’s, speedy acceleration, exhausting braking, and dashing) to enhance fuel mileage as much as 40% in metropolis visitors. Turning off the engine as an alternative of idling at railroad crossings and drawbridges saves gas.

The concept that it’s worthwhile to heat up the engine earlier than driving in winter is a myth that refuses to die. Unless your automobile predates the mid-Nineteen Nineties, idling is all the time a waste of gas.

No matter the place you reside, you may drive much less if you happen to plan forward and consolidate journeys. Instead of heading again out to select up that one factor you forgot on the retailer, wait till your subsequent deliberate journey to purchase it. When you run errands, plan your route to cut back driving backwards and forwards.


If you wish to do higher, incorporate cleaner modes of transportation into your routines.

Bike, carpool, or use public transportation in your work commute.

Pick a distance from your home and eradicate all automobile journeys shorter than that distance. Depending in your health stage, which will imply strolling to the mailbox as an alternative of driving; or it may imply strolling or biking to all locations inside 5 miles of residence. Outside of that distance, use public transportation at any time when potential. Do not, nonetheless, use ride-hailing companies like Lyft and Uber, that are normally more polluting than merely driving your self. (The variable influence of carshare applications like Zipcar and Car2Go depend on usage patterns.)

When it comes time to switch your automobile, purchase an electric vehicle or a hybrid. If your funds doesn’t enable for that, decide to discovering a automobile that’s more fuel-efficient than no matter you’re driving now.

When you journey, select essentially the most sustainable mode of transportation obtainable in your vacation spot and purchase offsets to reduce your influence.


Sell your automobile and don’t change it. Walk or bike in all places which you could, solely utilizing public transportation as a final resort. When you journey, use slow travel strategies as an alternative of flying.

Read half two of this collection: Good, Better, Best: Cutting Your Consumer Carbon Footprint

Feature picture by Florian Wehde on Unsplash. This article was initially revealed on May 7, 2020.