Ever wonder if your hybrid or electric car is really the cleanest way to get you from point A to point B?
Thanks to a new info graphic created by One Block off the Grid, you can see that depending on where you are going, some vehicles might be cleaner than others. The site has quantified the carbon footprint for a lone traveler to get to various destinations using multiple means of transportation.
Unsurprisingly, on a cross-country trip (2,500 miles), a gas guzzling SUV that gets 12 miles per gallon would emit 5,200 lbs. of CO2, making it the least carbon-efficient way to travel. The most efficient mode of transportation is not a train, not a plane, and not even an electric car (which emits no CO2 but does consume electricity from a coal-powered electrical grid, ultimately contributing to 1,025 lbs. of carbon emissions). It's a bus, which would emit only 425 lbs. of CO2 per person during the trip. Planes and trains would also emit less per person than even a hybrid car on a cross-country trip.
On a shorter trip, say, from Los Angeles to San Francisco, it would actually be more efficient to drive a hybrid (emitting 189 lbs. of CO2) than a regional jet (emitting 222 lbs. of CO2). Given an electric vehicle's pull off the coal-powered electrical grid (resulting in 144 lbs. of CO2 emissions), the most efficient transportation would still be a bus, emitting only 60 lbs. of CO2 per person.
Interestingly, the graphic suggests that for commuting across town, an electric train actually emits more CO2 per person (7 lbs.) than either a car carrying four people or a bus (6 lbs. and 3 lbs., respectively).
One Block Off the Grid, which promotes discounts on solar energy solutions, concludes by suggesting that a solar-powered charging solution for an electric vehicle is the greenest of all. Until the solar charging infrastructure (and the electric vehicles) are widely available to the public, however, your best for limiting your carbon footprint is still to wait for your local neighborhood bus - or better yet, get on your bike.
See the full info graphic at One Block Off the Grid.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com