Making meaningful changes to your daily travel can help to address climate change while improving your life, too.
Doing everyday journeys without a car can have a greater impact than you might think. Even a short drive can significantly add to traffic congestion and pollution. Not only that but it wastes fuel, adds wear to your car and can leave you feeling stressed and tired.
There are lots of ways to avoid the car. Walking or riding a bicycle are great ways to stay healthy and avoid the expense of driving while also minimizing your carbon pollution. For longer journeys, taking the bus, train, or using a carpool can minimize pollution while also taking the stress out of the trip (you don’t have to worry about road dangers and parking, and can pass the time with an activity you enjoy like reading). And if a personal car is essential, you can always switch to using an electric or hybrid vehicle.
However you choose to do it, making changes to the way you get around can cut your carbon pollution, improve your neighbourhood and leave you feeling healthier and happier.
Have a think about shorter trips you take by car on a regular basis and decide if you can replace them by bicycle or walking. If you want to cycle but don’t already have a bike, consider buying one second hand, or joining a bike share program.
If there are public buses and trains in your area, take just a few minutes to review the schedule online or in your mobile maps app. Talk to your neighbors, colleagues and friends to see if you can start a carpool or search for other ride-sharing opportunities online (some ride share companies even offer electric vehicle options).
If having a car is essential, consider joining the millions of people who are switching to electric and hybrid cars. They enjoy quiet rides, cleaner air and savings on fuel and maintenance without compromising on convenience. Read up on the difference between fully electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) cars and then find a new or used model that works for you, using guides like Green Cars or Electric for All in the US and EV Database in the EU.
Fewer gas and petrol cars on the road means less traffic and noise, and cleaner air for you and your family to breathe. Less cars also means there’s more room in your neighbourhood for trees, plants and spaces for people to enjoy.
Walking and cycling are the cleanest ways to get around. There are many health benefits too - traveling by foot or bike can help you burn more calories, improve your fitness, strengthen bone health and even reduce the risk of depression.
Using electric vehicles, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation instead of cars could avoid up to 23 gigatons of emissions - that’s like turning off the world’s coal power plants for over two years!
So the next time you pick up car keys - stop for a moment and think if there’s another way to take your journey. One simple change can make a big difference - for you, and your community. We’ll all feel better for it.
- Inspire your organization to make changes that matter.Find out moreReduce the amount of meat you eat in a week.Find out moreUse solar to power your home or heat your water.Find out moreShare a ride, go electric or travel by bike or foot instead.Find out moreChoose how financial institutions use your money.Find out moreTeam up with others and boost your impact.Find out more
23 gigatons of emissions is equal to the annual emissions of 2.3 years of operations for all coal power plants operational on earth as of 2019.
Choosing a bike over a car just once a day reduces an average citizen’s carbon emissions from transport by 67%.
Cycling for 30 mins burns 210 cal or more.
Light-duty vehicles driving in large [metropolitans] cause higher health impacts per mile...than those driving outside them.
Projections of hybrid and electric cars indicate they could account for two thirds of all new vehicle sales by 2040.
The daily average distance in private motorized vehicles is 7.7 miles / 12.8 km.
Walking improves muscular fitness, bone health and reduces the risk of depression.
Impact metric calculations
To determine the carbon emission reduction estimates related to switching to greener forms of transit such as electric and hybrid vehicles, train, bus, carpooling, walking or cycling, the following calculations were performed:
Fossil Fuel Car: (miles/week) / (miles/gallon) x (kg CO2e/gallon) x (weeks/month) = kg CO2e/ month Public Transit (rail/train, bus/coach), Electric and Hybrid Vehicles, Walking or Cycling: (# of journeys/week) x (miles/journey) x (kg CO2e/mile) x (weeks/month) = kg CO2e / month
Carpooling: (# of journeys/week) x (miles/journey) x (kg CO2e/mile) / (assumed carpooling occupancy) x (weeks/month) = kg CO2e / month
Total: Fossil Fuel Car – Lower Emitting Alternative = kg CO2e/month
For detailed calculations, references and assumptions, please see our Methodology.