For years, there’s been an ongoing debate about whether it’s better to drive a car or fly in a plane. People who drive cars often argue that it’s better for the environment because driving a car is usually a short-distance commute and they use their car only for necessary trips.
On the other hand, people who fly in planes argue that they are doing the world a favor by cutting down on carbon emissions because they are not driving their cars.
Sadly, when you’re going by car or plane, your vehicle is probably one of the top sources of greenhouse pollution, as well as one of the biggest contributors to smog and acid rain.
However, your daily commute doesn’t have to be as damaging to the planet as you might think. Making simple changes in how and when you travel can make a big difference.
Transportation Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector in the US reached their highest level in 2007, since 1990. More than 2/3 of these emissions are from passenger cars and trucks.
The reduction of these emissions is especially urgent given that transportation accounts for more than one quarter of America’s total greenhouse gas emissions, and that overall emissions are projected to grow as the US population grows.
Automobile transportation in the United States is responsible for about 25% of all energy-related CO2 emissions, and is the single biggest contributor to global warming.
This is not surprising, as the US has one of the highest automobile ownership rates in the world. The good news is that we now have better technologies that can help us all reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, particularly in the transportation sector.
Comparing greenhouse gas emissions
The debate over whether it is more eco-friendly to drive or fly has gone on for years. Which is more damaging to the environment: flying in a plane or driving a car? With today’s modern technologies and more efficient modes of transportation, the answer is not as clear as it once was.
Given the relatively low cost of airfare and the high cost of gas, flying may be the cheaper option, but it may also cause more pollution than driving.
Businesses and individuals are all too familiar with working to reduce their carbon footprints through small changes like switching to more eco-friendly light bulbs. Yet, there are times when even the smallest of changes are still not enough to make a real impact on the world.
For example, a common question that arises is whether or not a plane ride is better for the environment than driving a car. It’s a tricky question, considering that both modes of transportation have their advantages and disadvantages, but it can be answered with a little research.
A Quick Comparison In most cases, flying is not as green as driving. Airplanes produce nearly three times more greenhouse gas emissions per person than cars.
Short flights vs. Long flights
The airline industry has undergone a series of changes in the last decade to make air travel more sustainable. While most of the changes have centered on technological advances like more fuel efficient jet engines, other important changes have included significant investments in alternative fuel sources, carbon emissions trading programs, and emerging biofuel markets.
As a result, airlines are now not only able to offset the carbon emissions they produce, but also significantly reduce their greenhouse gas footprint.
Many people don’t realize the impact a single flight can have on the environment. As the distance you fly increases, so do the fuels needed to power your flight.
Since a plane’s engines run on fossil fuel and releasing gases into the air, the further you travel, the higher your greenhouse gas emissions. That’s why taking short flights is better for the environment than longer flights.
Public Transportation Beats Both Car and Air Travel
If you have ever been caught in a traffic jam, flown on an airplane, or paid for parking at an airport, you might be surprised to learn that public transportation is the most environmentally friendly choice, according to a new study from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
According to a report released by the U.S. Department of Energy, public transportation produces far fewer emissions per passenger mile than traveling by either car or plane.
The study compared the emissions generated by different modes of travel, and revealed that a passenger in an average automobile produces around 1.8 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) per mile, while an airplane produces about 0.5 pounds per mile.
Offsetting carbon emissions
There are several ways that you can offset your carbon emissions. One of the most common ways is by planting trees. Trees are beneficial to the environment because they help mitigate climate change and the effects of global warming.
However, a tree only absorbs a certain amount of carbon; if you want to offset carbon more effectively, purchasing carbon offsets is the way to go. With a carbon offset, you can pay to have carbon sequestered in another way, such as planting a tree, or investing in a renewable energy project.
If you’ve been following the news, you’ve probably heard rumblings about this. It looks like California is going to pass a law that every new home must have solar panels.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you look at the big picture, it has more impacts than meets the eye. For starters, the solar panels will generate electricity, which will be used in place of power from the grid. This could have a profound impact on the price of electricity, and on our dependence on foreign oil.
When you are thinking of buying a plane ticket or taking a car on a long-haul drive, the carbon emissions from the travel will weigh on your mind, especially if you are concerned about the environment. But which option is most environmentally friendly: flying or driving?
We probably all know that traveling by plane produces a lot of greenhouse gasses, and yet many of us still do it. While there is a lot of information available on how to choose a more environmentally friendly airline, there is less information on how to choose a more environmentally friendly mode of transport if you need to travel by car or plane.