Some time ago an eco-conscious friend of mine told me he preferred to drive his family to the Peak District as it was more environmentally friendly than taking the bus. With all the bus cuts it is undoubtedly more convenient and cheaper to drive but more environmentally friendly?
The information my friend was using as the basis for his decision was a well known infographic derived from Government statistics which compares the emissions per passenger kilometre from different modes of transport. This typically shows that a bus emits more than twice the carbon dioxide per passenger km than a car with four passengers.
For example, the latest 2022 Defra statistics show that an average petrol car emits 170g of carbon dioxide vs 96g for an average bus, and 35g for national rail per passenger km.
If you assume there are four passengers in a car then the emissions per passenger km reduces to a quarter or around 43g which many of the infographics show. But for some reason they don’t do the same with a bus or train. In fact, in our heads for a family of four travelling by bus we tend to multiply the emissions by four as you would when estimating how much it would cost to take the bus or train. This produces a highly inaccurate representation of what is the most eco-friendly form of travel. Hey presto, driving is the new veganism.
Read more: SmartTransport
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