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What's the greenest way to get from point A to point B? Is it by airplane or train? How 'bout by bus? Or is a grid-charged electric vehicle the greenest mode of transport?

Well, the answer depends on the length of the trip. Is it 350 miles? If so, then a bus seems to be the greenest means to get there. If it's a long-distance trip (2,500 miles), then, once again, the bus comes out on top, according to One Block Off The Grid's "The Greener way to get there" infographic. But what if the trip is only 20 miles? Is the bus still king?

The full infographic, complete with the greenest way to get there from here to there and loads of additional carbon footprint-related statistics – including why solar panels could make a world of difference in regards to plug-in vehicle emissions – can be found after the jump.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 34 Comments
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      The EV would never complete that LA to NYC cross-country trip because the driver would shoot themselves in the head. I'm a fan of EVs but that is not what they are for . . . that would be 'doing it wrong.' Take the jet.
      Marco Polo
      • 3 Years Ago
      I hate to sound a bit negative on issues like this, but I find this sort of study very self-indulgent. Why on earth fund research on the minute details of what transport method is cleaner, greener and ignore the 2000lb gorilla in the corner? Hypothetically if the entire US population were to adopt the bicycle as a method of transport, the pollution saved would barely equal the pollution created by 6 large container vessels running on Marine grade No. 6 (bunker oil)! Now, when you think that the world Merchant Fleet alone, is nearly 100,000 vessels, the percentage by which a bus is marginally different from a Prius hybrid in terms of pollution, is, (in terms of priorities), insignificant! That's why I say, self-indulgent. Environmentalists often lose sight of real objectives, and priorities, by turning environmental issues into personal hobbyist pursuits. Thus 'green' capitalism becomes the motivation, not the environment. " Look how green I am, I bought some solar panels!" is just self-congratulatory indulgence! An advertisement for a personal lifestyle philosophy, rather than a genuine interest in the planets health. Everything that is transported by the ocean, every cargo, has already acquired a huge environmental price tag. A bicycle from the PRC, shipped to Michigan, already has acquired an environmental price higher than an all American made ICE automobile. ( if such a thing existed). PRC products, produced in appallingly harmful factories, with materials made in even more pollutant factories, involving mining ,and energy production practises, from the 19th century, then shipped around the world in the planets most pollutant transport method, are being sold as 'green' products in the US everyday. Why not fund a "study" on the environmental impact of those 'facts'?........
        DaveMart
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Marco Polo
        zahaylu, There is absolutely no way with anything like present technology to run renewables without the burn of vast quantities of natural gas due to intermittency. Not only does this build in fossil fuel use for decades and the renewables element add stupendous costs, but using natural gas in a supporting role for renewables is not very efficient. Panasonic amongst other Japanese companies intend to bring a competitively priced home fuel cell to market in around 2013 which would mean that waste heat would be used in the home to heat water. This would raise the efficiency of gas burn by around 30%. You can't do that if you are using wind to provide electricity when the wind in not blowing. A non-fossil fuel burning low carbon economy with anything remotely like current technology and at any less than a cost of national bankruptcy is nuclear, and I am afraid it really is that simple.
        Timo
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Marco Polo
        How about oil tankers? I assume they pollute just as much as container vessels. Using that same calculation that would make ICE even more polluting in comparison without bothering to point out refining and drilling environmental costs.
          Marco Polo
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Timo
          Timmo Absolutely! Although curiously some Oil tankers(mainly, BP) run on Marine grade No.4. ( a much cleaner fuel, requiring less bulky tanks and no preheating.)
          Marco Polo
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Timo
          Anteeksi Timo, The fault is mine! Spell check automatically assumes your name is correctly spelt Timmo, as in the Australian abbreviation of Timothy.
          Timo
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Timo
          You seem to write my name with one extra m in every post you comment my text. It really is Timo with one m. I think name etymology has roots in Greek Timótheos. It is just (much) shorter version of it, and is quite common name here in Finland.
        skierpage
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Marco Polo
        1. This is measuring the greenhouse gas CO2, not noxious poisonous pollution. You've hinted that you think global warming is overblown, but few share your opinion. 2. How the f*** can I affect how goods are transported? (You love to shout at us what we already know, without ever offering solutions.) But I can and do limit my own pollution and my carbon footprint. You're defeatist, petty and wrong to call that a "personal hobbyist pursuit" and "self-congratulatory indulgence". In what way does it conflict with "genuine environmental interest"? 3. One container vessel can carry 10,000 containers, which each can hold 24,000 kg. That's 240,000 tonnes of material, or far more than a million bicycles. I think your math is off for pollutant pollution, and for greenhouse gas emissions, shipping is hella efficient and is actually a small part of a car's lifetime carbon footprint.
          skierpage
          • 4 Months Ago
          @skierpage
          @MarcoPolo, I'm not defending the use of bunker oil at all! I'm criticizing your misguided and meanspirited criticism of people who care about their carbon footprint. What make you think they're "ignoring the larger issues"?
          Marco Polo
          • 4 Months Ago
          @skierpage
          @skierpage I assume your post is directed to me, so I shall reply: 1. I have never said that AGW is "overblown". Only the claims by some ill-informed extremists. 2. It's of little value to congratulate yourself on your personal efforts, while ignoring the larger issues. That's one of the real problems of the environmental movement. It appeals to a smug elite. 3. You are the only person (apart from Shipping companies) who defends the use of bunker oil! Even the oil companies admit that the use of bunker oil should be phased out. Shipping is not efficient! A medium sized vessel can burn 500 of tons of fuel per day. But, hey as long as you can get your imported goods a few cents cheaper, why should you care about the health of your neighbours, your children, your planet?
        TJP
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Marco Polo
        It is incredible what kind of monsters sail the seas. It's good that you point them out. They poison our seas and pump up huge amount of CO2 and sulphur into our atmosphere. And we definitely need to get them to use cleaner fuels. Bunker oil should be banned from the seas, if possible. But there's no denial that road traffic is also one of our biggest causes of pollution in the world, especially in highly populated cities. In Europe alone it's estimated that air pollution kills more than 300 000 people each year prematurely. And the ships in our harbors in just a part of the problem. More about the subject: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1229857/How-16-ships-create-pollution-cars-world.html You should also realize, that one thing being worse than the other does not mean we shouldn't also try to change the "lesser evil". But I agree that it should be more clear to the consumer where the item originates. For example Nissan is starting it's Leaf's production in the US and UK, including their batteries, which is the way it's supposed to be done, locally. And they're also starting to use more and more renewables in their manufacturing processes. Here's also an interesting related news article: http://green.autoblog.com/2011/10/06/nissan-leaf-hauling-city-of-st-petersburg-ship/
          TJP
          • 4 Months Ago
          @TJP
          So if the ship traffic kills estimated 27000 people each year by funnel fumes (according to the article I linked about the ships), it's less than 10% of the total people killed by air pollution in Europe (more than 300 000 in total according to WHO). Of the rest of the air pollution we breathe, about half is from the power generation and the other half is from road traffic. And about half of that is from the personal transportation (our cars and other personal vehicles). It's the biggest single thing a one person can do to improve the quality of air we breathe.
          Marco Polo
          • 4 Months Ago
          @TJP
          @ TJP, thank you for your reply. The direct causal ratio of human death from bunker oil pollution, is estimated to be 160,000 to 250,000 per annum in the northern hemisphere. A further 3-7 million people per year, are estimated to have their heath effected with fatal long term consequences. While entering, departing or in port, ships run on Diesel, fitted with filters, which is why discrepancies appear in the pollution estimates. (Sources: The Economist, Oil Industry News, a BP and Chevron study on the overall effects of Marine Fuels to the UN. ) No major Western Oil company (except Total) denies the harmful effects of bunker oil. BP's Lord Brown recommended it abolished! We are only just beginning to understand how these dangerous carcinogens are entering the food chain, so the death toll maybe even higher! Even animals suffer! In ratio of transport pollution, I large container vessel can equal 50 million cars! 5-8% of shipping equals the world entire road transport fleet. This doesn't take into consideration, discharges from Shipping in sensitive areas, ships sinking, etc. Right now as I type, a large container vessel is destroying the beaches and marine life of the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand. If such a shipping disaster occurred in the summer waters of the Great Barrier Reef , (through which pass 3000 ships per year), one of the world greatest maritime treasures would be lost forever! I will take some years to practically replace ICE road transport, but the majority Bunker Oil could be stopped within 2 years, relatively economically. So where's the sense of priority?
        DaveMart
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Marco Polo
        The use of nuclear power in these very large ships would cause pollution to plummet and save many thousands of lives a year. But of course nuclear is too 'dangerous' to be used to save lives from these proven killers - at least in the unumeric world of opponents. BTW, if used to displace coal plants the death toll of around 30,000 per year from power plant particles could be reduced by around 60 per year for every year of a nuclear plant's life. Over their 60 year lifespan that is about 6,000 lives saved per plant - but of course it is 'dangerous' even though there has never been a radiation fatality in the West in the civil nuclear industry's plants.
      Marco Polo
      • 3 Years Ago
      David, I have nothing against the use of Nuclear power, except that for maritime purposes it has proved hugely uneconomic. The short life of merchant ships, and the high cost of decommissioning is a negative, as well as the possibility of sinking. Salvage would be near impossible. But, I agree, a modern well operated Nuclear power plant, located sensibly, is a perfectly safe technology, especially with Thorium.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      they should have a light and aerodynamic car category that's charged from solar panels
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Yeah, and what about riding a unicorn? Why is there not a unicorn category, dammit!
        Ryan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        They at least have the solar option mentioned. They should have looked at taking a sailboat from LA to SF. That is the way I want to get around. But yes, where is my modern day EV1? Use some carbon fiber and LiFePO4 batteries and see what range it could get now.
          j
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Ryan
          Ryan, congratulations you've qualified for a limited time only upgrade! Today they call them: Tesla Roadsters!
      Letstakeawalk
      • 3 Years Ago
      No E-Bike? 2WM won't be very pleased...
      niky
      • 3 Years Ago
      Bikes? 0? Not really accurate. More like 0.1 or 0.2 for a 20 kilometer trip...
        Timo
        • 4 Months Ago
        @niky
        Has anybody actually measured how much CO2 breathing produces? We inhale O2 and exhale CO2 just like any other animals. Combustion (burning) of course is much worse, but human being is not entirely "clean" either if you count CO2 as pollution. (BTW that's 20 miles, not kilometers. In kilometers that would be 32.)
          Spec
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Timo
          And don't forget to add in the farts. ;-)
      russellbgeister
      • 3 Years Ago
      theres a hole here hes assuming a hybrid car has the same fuel use on the open road as it does in the city its already been proven that hybrids suck on the open road beacuse they dont use there batteries they have to use there tiny under powered ice engines a 5 series bmw on the open road uses less fuel than a prius as to a bus trip of 2500 miles done it . and take it from me it sucked and nearly took 4 days trains not much better unless you can afford a sleeper, driving well at least you have your car when you get to your destination have have made a 2000 mile trip in a car drove it myself took a day off in the middle took 5 days solo no night driving roos like dear can make a mess of a car ive read some bs in my time but this guys stupid
        Marco Polo
        • 4 Months Ago
        @russellbgeister
        A Prius is not the same as a 5 series BMW. The equivalent would be a Lexus 450h. I drive over 100,000 long distance miles in Australia every year, and the Lexus would use only 60% of the fuel of a 5 series! With greater comfort and reliability!
          russellbgeister
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          not doubting you but the writer didn't say what kind of hybrid i just went for the most popular model,using his simple model of BS and i bet on a long straight run like this even the lexus wouln't be as economical as it is around town with the battries able to do some of the work
        skierpage
        • 4 Months Ago
        @russellbgeister
        You win the weekly prize for worst grammar, spelling, and writing. The BMW 528i's highway mpg is 32; Prius gets 48 mpg highway, Its Atkinson cycle engine is very efficient at highway rpm. A diesel approaches that, but doesn't actually beat it — VW Golf/Jetta/A3 TDI gets 42 mpg.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Japan totally doesn't count. Everyone makes such a big deal out of nuclear power being 'dangerous'. Human error causing the Fukushima meltdown and the ongoing out-of-control crisis could have never happened. I mean, c'mon. Never. It's totally safe technology. Well... at least for white people, as DaveMart asserts.
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is a waste of time. That is because they do not give assumed load factors. A bus, for instance, is usually not very efficient. That is because it is packed at rush hour, and so efficient per passenger mile travelled, but most of the rest of the time a big heavy vehicle travels around half empty and gets poor mileage per passenger. Trains are the same, as of course are cars. However the mileage for cars is usually worked out on the basis of low occupancy, not so public transport which is not nearly as efficient as people think in fuel.
      DaveMart
      • 4 Months Ago
      Marco, The economics of nuclear relative to bunker oil are not outrageous, and depend on the price of oil. They also depend on banker oil being given a free ride for its externalities, ie how many people it kills. Discussion of the economics etc here: http://nextbigfuture.com/2009/07/nuclear-power-for-commercial-shipping.html As can be seen, there have been hundreds of nuclear powered ships in the navies of the US and Russia, which have operated successfully, so concerns about recovery etc should not be over-emphasised. The notion that one should automatically have to recover a reactor if the ship sunk is perhaps ill-founded, as there is plenty of radiation naturally in the ocean and in the sea the chief problem, run away heating simply could not occur as the sea would cool it down. We have proven designs from the navy. We would not automatically have to build thousands of nuclear ships in any case, as the very largest create a huge proportion of the pollution: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1229857/How-16-ships-create-pollution-cars-world.html A couple of dozen very large ships, the most economic to move to nuclear power anyway, would drastically reduce pollution at very acceptable cost, or in fact if the pollution is properly costed at a profit. The ability to continue to move goods and services whatever happens to oil supply and price is a bonus.
      • 4 Months Ago
      Yeah, I killed my television years ago. I recommend you do the same DaveMars. You see, there's this thing called safe renewable energy, it is... oh, forget it, nevermind.
      Marco Polo
      • 4 Months Ago
      @DaveM Nuclear for marine applications is certainly a technology worth re-examining. The early failed merchant application were along time ago, both technology and the other dynamics have changed since those early days.
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