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Most effective ways to cut travel emissions

Words by Smiley Team

Hoping to cut your carbon footprint while you travel? From a trip to the shops to a holiday abroad, your transport choices greatly impact your contribution to greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.

While changing your individual lifestyle won’t save the world from climate change, it can help delegitimise the business case for polluting transport industries while supporting eco-friendly alternatives. 

To give you some ideas for how to start making these decisions, here are some of the top ways you can switch to greener travel.

Get a greener vehicle

While 74% of global emissions come from road transport, your choice of car is the most important decision you can make to reduce your impact. If you live in a city or area with good public transport links you may choose not to have a car whatsoever. But if that is not an option, the greener the vehicle the better. 

The most eco-friendly new cars are fully electric and produce zero emissions. Of course, being electric doesn’t guarantee they are emissions-free if the electricity comes from non-renewable sources. To ensure your electric vehicle serves its purpose, charge directly from a renewable energy source installed at home, switch to a green energy provider or use the WWF’s tool to time your charging so it relieves pressure on the electricity grid.

Ditch domestic flights

It’s tempting to hop on a plane when the cost of flying is often far less than taking the train. However, your savings will come at a far greater cost to the environment. Taking just one long-haul flight can cause as much greenhouse gas emissions as many people create in an entire year. Carbon emissions from a domestic flight are 133g of carbon per passenger for every kilometre flown, whereas, passengers travelling by domestic rail produce just 41g for every kilometre. 

Share the load

The more passengers who share vehicles, the fewer vehicles there are on the roads and the lower carbon emissions become. To help accelerate this trend, carpooling apps make it easier than ever to find a lift or offer one to other people. Options include MyEcoCar, BlaBlaCar and moovit. Already carpooling is having a positive impact. Just BlaBlaCar alone was found to cut carbon emissions by 1.6 million tonnes a year. Take a ride and build momentum for this eco-friendly alternative.

Choose health - for you and the planet

Finally, of course, there is the old fashioned option of travelling by foot or bicycle. Rather than driving around the corner a few hundred metres try to cut back on every trip that you could otherwise do by walking. Even in cities, cycling is the healthiest choice. Whereas air pollution builds up in cars or subways, travelling in the open air is best for your lungs and the health benefits outweigh the impact of inhaling toxic particulates, according to one study

Inspired to act?

DONATE: To help push for a greener, cleaner transport system in the UK, donate to the Campaign for Better Transport.

SUPPORT: Act now to reduce emissions from the transport sector. Support the Campaign for Better Transport.


This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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