What is the Greenest Mode of Transport?

We must all play our part in reducing harmful CO2 emissions, and one of the easiest ways we can do this is through our choice of transport.

Habits can be difficult to break for many people, but seriously, you don’t need to drive to the local school or store if they are within walking distance.

You don’t need to drive to work if it is within cycling distance.

You don’t need to fly if your destination is within easy reach by train or boat.

It’s complicated to rank all forms of transportation based on their environmental impact, but here is a simple guide to the greenest ways of getting around…

1 Walking and Cycling

Of course, walking and cycling are by far the most environmentally friendly modes of transportation. They produce no direct emissions, are low cost, and provide excellent physical exercise. They are also a convenient and often quicker way to get around in urban areas.

2 Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles (EVs) are growing by the day in popularity, due to their low environmental impact and relatively low operating costs, compared to traditional petrol-powered vehicles. EVs run on electricity from the grid, which can be produced from a variety of sources, including renewable energy sources like wind and solar power. When charged with renewable energy, EVs have a significantly smaller carbon footprint compared to gasoline-powered vehicles.

A tram on a public transport network

3 Public Transport

Public transportation, such as buses, trains and trams, is often more energy-efficient than private cars. When they run on time – and different countries have different success rates – public transport vehicles can carry many passengers at once, reducing the number of cars on the road – which reduces emissions and congestion.

4 Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles

These use a combination of petrol and electricity to power the vehicle. While they are more fuel-efficient than traditional petrol-powered vehicles, their environmental impact depends on the efficiency of the engine and the source of electricity used to charge the battery. If charged with renewable energy, these vehicles can have a significantly lower carbon footprint compared to traditional vehicles.

5 Conventional Vehicles

Petrol and diesel-powered vehicles are the least environmentally friendly mode of transportation, as you would expect. They emit high levels of greenhouse gases and air pollutants, and their fuel consumption contributes to resource depletion. The average fossil fuel-powered vehicle produces about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, which is a significant contribution to the transportation sector’s carbon footprint.

Mark Campbell
Mark Campbell
Editor of GreenGreenGreen, Mark has been a journalist for more than 30 years, campaigning on environmental issues. Living a vegan lifestyle, he writes and creates content for ethical businesses and organisations across the world.