5 Ways To Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emission From Travel


Whether traveling by train, plane, or automobile, each mode produces carbon emissions. In fact, in the U.S., the transportation sector accounts for 28 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Apply these strategies to lower your emissions when getting from point A to point B.

SWA plane

Image courtesy of Mercedes Dayanara.

Carefully select your mode of transportation

Although there are some variables, including distance and the number of people in your group, certain modes of transportation generally have lower associated emissions. For example, traveling by motor couch and train are almost always a carbon bargain, and unlike air travel they often bring riders to the city center, possibly making it unnecessary to rent a car upon arrival.

Fly in the coach class

I know the seats in first class have more leg room and the menu options are more extensive, but unfortunately flying first class is one of the most polluting ways to travel because the emissions associated with each passenger is greater. Downgrade your tickets, especially on longer flights where the emissions add up more.  Your wallet will thank you too!

Choose nonstop flights

Lots of greenhouse gas emissions are related to the takeoff, landing, and ground operations of a plane, not to mention draining your own time. To reduce your emissions, select nonstop flights whenever possible. If this isn’t an option or it’s too expensive, try to avoid out-of-the-way layovers.

GPS navigation

Image courtesy of Jim Clark.

Drive during off-peak times

The fuel consumption rates of vehicles can double on congested roads because fuel economy rapidly declines at lower speeds and from frequent braking and acceleration. Studies also show that traffic jams are bad for your health because you inhale more auto fumes, and driving during rush hour is associated with high blood pressure and stress levels.

Use traffic updates

If you must travel during rush hour or in highly populated places, use a GPS with traffic updates or an app such as Beat The Traffic to steer clear of congested construction zones, collisions and bottlenecks. As a bonus, this also reduces your vehicle wear and tear and fuel cost.

Feature image courtesy of Andreas Levers

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Sarah Lozanova

Sarah Lozanova is a renewable energy and sustainability journalist and communications professional with an MBA in sustainable management. She is a regular contributor to environmental and energy publications and websites, including Mother Earth Living, Earth911, Home Power, Triple Pundit, CleanTechnica, The Ecologist, GreenBiz, Renewable Energy World and Windpower Engineering. Lozanova also works with several corporate clients as a public relations writer to gain visibility for renewable energy and sustainability achievements.
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