While walking down the road the other day, I suddenly found myself engulfed in fumes from a passing bus. It seems hard to believe such a polluting vehicle could be part of a low-carbon lifestyle, doesn't it?
The fact is, buses and trains get very low fuel economy compared to passenger cars. Where they win is by carrying a lot of passengers, so the fuel use or pollution per passenger is quite small. The typical car only has one occupant, so if you're in your car alone, you're responsible for every passenger-mile of pollution.
One way to change this situation is to carry more passengers. Traveling 5,000 miles in a medium car might result in 1.5 tonnes of personal CO2 pollution, while covering that same distance by rail would only result in 0.32 tonnes. But if you had three passengers in your car, the CO2 pollution per person would only be 0.38 tonnes - quite close to what you get on the train.
Four people in a hybrid car would result in 0.22 tonnes per person - considerably less than taking the train.
It probably doesn't make sense to round up the neighbors to join you everytime you need to drive into town. Buses and trains have an important role to play. But if you can schedule your car journeys so that you and your neighbours travel together once in a while, you can dramatically reduce your carbon footprint. And make some new friends at the same time. And of course, you can offset all your remaining emissions with a Carbon Clear package.(Carbon Clear Homepage)