Posted by: ecodestination | May 31, 2009

Bicycle NZ in 30 days and other green ways to travel

photo by instatravel.org

photo by instatravel.org

The U.S.-based NGO Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has conducted research to determine which manners of transportation incur the lowest carbon footprints.

I know what you’re thinking—WALK, BABY, WALK!!

Yes, I agree most sincerely. Bicycling is another fabulous option.

Speaking of which, let me introduce you to a man who traveled throughout New Zealand for 30 days—on a bicycle! While his main intent was to explore the country’s landscapes as cheaply as possible, the grand bonus is his basically nonexistent carbon footprint. Except for the couple of rides he took with his bike on a stranger’s truck, this guy cycled his way through mountains, hills, everything. And he’s blogged all about it here. (He’s not done, so keep checking for updates.)  So. Fabulous.

On to the study.

UCS compared CO2 emissions from different types of vehicles plus emissions per person, per pair, and per family of four. It concluded that the three most crucial factors to help determine the carbon footprint of one’s travel are the type of vehicle, distance traveled, and number of travelers. With these in mind, you can figure out how [un]green your next trip would be.

The researchers found that if you’re traveling farther than 500 mi. by yourself or with one other person, the environment is better off if you take a nonstop coach flight (don’t even think about flying first class) than if you take a car.

Bus trips are most often greener than coach flights and car trips by 55-75%. But what about a fuel-efficient car, you ask? Taking the bus will probably reduce a couple’s CO2 emissions by 50%. If you are taking a car, then, naturally, a hybrid will kick an SUV’s bum.

Considering taking the train instead of driving or flying? Train trips will reduce emissions by 60% per passenger per mile when compared to one-person car trips and by 30% as compared to a 500-mi. small jet flight.

Low seasons are also greener because less traffic means less fuel waste for both land and air travel. Besides, gas and plane ticket prices will be lower too! Here you can read about other ways you can use the study’s results to save money (woohoo!).

Download the full report here.

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