Americans drive trillions of miles every year. Light-duty vehicles including cars, S.U.V.’s, pickups and more for the everyday produced about a fifth of our U.S. emissions footprint in 2017. Imagine now if every driver drove 10 percent less – no need to ditch the car – just used it wisely. What an impact on greenhouse gas emissions!
A 10 percent cut by every driver would be equivalent to taking about 28 coal-fired power plants offline for a year. This would require every American driver to cut about 1,300 miles/year. Considering that a third of car trips are less than two miles it then seems plausible that walking, biking or public transport are potentials for these short trips. How about an electric bike, scooter or Segway? Plan ahead to combine errands, carpool and avoid unnecessary trips.
Consider a housing complex with 200 apartments. If every home updated their bulbs to LED, the energy savings would be spectacular. Many of us consider ourselves as committed to the environment because we recycle and compost, use LEDs, watch our water or eat less meat than in past years. Then, there’s the transportation piece. It’s not all our fault that our love affair with the automobile is a tough one to boot as U.S. transportation systems and low gas prices often encourage car use. Therefore, while it’s challenging, we still owe it to our environment, future generations and local transportation planners to support initiatives to drive less. It’s our personal job to Make a new plan, Jump on the Bus and Get Ourselves Free…. from our beloved cars.