Which Sustainable Transportation is Right for You? - Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Which Sustainable Transportation is Right for You?

May 17, 2022

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Everyday transportation has an enormous impact on the environment. These emissions are particularly hard to eliminate because doing so would require changing the daily lives of millions–if not billions–of people all around the world. As the threats of climate change loom over our planet, however, these changes to transportation are growing ever more important. Here, we review various methods of transportation that are less emissions-intensive than those currently used.

The Environmental Impact of Transportation

According to the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency, approximately 14% of global emissions can be traced to transportation. In the United States, this figure is closer to 27%, a larger share than heavy industry and electricity production. 

To clarify, the category of transportation accounts for a whole number of sources grouped together, often including shipping by air and sea. Some of these emissions are complexly interwoven into the global economy, while others can be influenced by everyday citizens. 

This leads us to the question on every concerned environmentalist’s mind…

What Can be Done?

There are a number of ways in which everyday consumers can have a positive impact on the emissions that come from transportation. Focusing your online purchasing to change trends in shipping and returns is one great way. Another way is to target larger sources of personal transportation, like vacations

A third way to impact transportation emissions is to change everyday commutes to more sustainable alternatives. 

Forms of Sustainable Transportation

There are forms of sustainable transportation for people everywhere, no matter their location, wealth, or occupation. 

  1. Public transportation 

Easily the best option for those aiming to reduce the emissions from their commute is public transportation. If you live in a city like New York or San Francisco, there’s really no reason to own a car at all. In cities with less developed public transportation, it’s still worth purchasing a rail or bus pass to use on days when you don’t want to find parking or sit in traffic. One study found that public transportation can offer emissions reductions between 33% and 62%. 

  1. Electric vehicles

There has been plenty of publicity about the benefits of electric vehicles (EV) in recent years. EV can reduce one’s greenhouse gas emissions greatly as an alternative to gasoline or diesel vehicles. This is especially true in areas that use renewable energy, or if your house has solar panels on its roof. EV are less attractive for people who live in rural areas or in regions that rely on fossil fuels for electricity. There are still options for sustainable transportation to explore, though!

  1. High efficiency gasoline and hybrid cars. 

Car manufacturers have been working to produce cars with exceptional gasoline efficiency. These cars reduce the emissions from every mile driven. The Honda Insight, Toyota Corolla, and Mitsubishi Mirage are all great examples. Some of these models reach up to 60 miles per gallon on the highway and 40 miles in cities. To take another step towards sustainability, look into hybrids like the Toyota Prius and Chevrolet Malibu. 

In Conclusion

Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation are cause for major concern. If consumers continue business as usual, transportation’s contribution to global warming will surely prove devastating. But the good news is, there are a number of ways to reduce our carbon footprints from transportation. Changing purchasing habits, using public transportation, and even just walking to work some days can all have a significant impact.


Want to learn more?
Sustainable Transportation FAQs

How much pollution is caused by transportation?

Around 14% of global emissions originate from transportation, be it cars, rail, sea, or air.

How much CO2 comes from cars?

Around 400 grams of carbon dioxide is released from driving every mile. It may not seem like much, but this figure adds up very quickly.

Are EV always better?

Electric vehicles can be very positive for the environment. But if you live in an area where electricity is produced from fossil fuels, a high efficiency gasoline car or hybrid may be better.

Does walking help the environment?

Absolutely! Walking instead of driving eliminates the need for an allotment of greenhouse gas emissions. Same goes for biking!


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 

U.S. Department of Transportation

European Union