Living greenest ways to get around clip

Published on May 13th, 2013 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

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Your Best Choices for Green Transportation [Infographic]

Want to lower your carbon footprint? Looking at how you heat and cool your living space will likely make the most difference; your transportation choices are next on the list in terms of impact. If you’re still driving a gas guzzler, you’re not only dedicating a sizable portion of your income to gasoline, but you’re also contributing more than your share of carbon emissions to the Earth’s atmosphere.

So, what are the best choices in terms of climate impact? Take a look at this infographic for details on the ways you choose to get around. Got thoughts or concerns about the information presented here? Share them in the comments… and click on the graphic itself for a larger version.

greenest ways to get around infographic
Presented by CheapCarInsurance.Net



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About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at



  • http://www.fruitheightsfriends.com Janet

    Just curious if this was a sponsored post – do you label them?

  • Mark Sandeen

    The carbon footprint for commuting 7,228 miles in an all electric vehicle is much, much lower than shown in the infographic.

    Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S, Chevy Volt all get about 3 miles per kWh.
    So commuting 7,228 miles means using about 2,400 kWh per year.
    Here in Massachusetts our power produces 0.9 lbs of CO2 for every kWh. So that means an electric car commuter would produce 2,180 pounds of CO2 per year.

    If 100% of your fuel was produced by coal power plants, your footprint would be 4,800 pounds of CO2. Still far less than burning gasoline.

    If 100% of your fuel was produced by natural gas plants, your footprint would be 2,688 pounds of CO2.

    If 100% of your fuel was produced by wind, hydro, solar or nuclear power, your footprint would be zero.

    • http://sustainablog.org Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

      Thanks for the information, Mark… I’d be happy to pass it along to the infographic’s creator. Could you point me to sources for your numbers?

    • http://sustainablog.org Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

      @Mark–

      Here’s a response from the research team involved in creating this infographic:

      Although the carbon footprint of an all-electric vehicle varies by state, we wanted to give our readers a general statistic about their efficiency. We used this carbon footprint calculator http://www.terrapass.com/carbon-footprint-calculator-2/ and tried to account for the average american driver in a location where they were using energy from a coal-fired power plant (which accounts for 45% of the US electricity grid (according to the US Energy Information Administration) in 2010) In addition, although a Nissan leaf has an efficiency of .34 kWh/mile, the current energy efficiency rating (miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent) is 99 mpg, according to fueleconomy.gov (here’s one very good source on the topic: http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/clean_vehicles/electric-car-global-warming-emissions-report.pdf)

  • Mark Sandeen

    It looks like the creators of the infographic assumed that electric vehicles travel ~1 mile per kWh and then get all their electricity from coal fired plants.

    If you average the miles per kWh of the Nissan Leaf, Honda Fit, Ford Focus Electric and the Chevy Volt, you find that an average electric vehicle travels 3.2 miles per kWh according to the EPA. Here are the sources you asked for.

    Here is a picture of the EPA window sticker showing that a 2013 Nissan Leaf uses 0.29 kWh per mile. The number quoted above of .34 kWh/mile was for the 2012 Nissan Leaf.
    The 2012 Nissan Leaf will travel 2.95 miles per kWh. The 2013 Nissan Leaf will travel 3.45 miles per kWh.
    http://insideevs.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/2013-Nissan-LEAF-sticker-S-Model.jpg

    The Honda Fit is also rated at .29 kWh per mile or 3.45 miles per kWh.
    The Ford Focus Electric is rated at .32 kWh per mile of 3.125 miles per kWh.
    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/evsbs.shtml
    Chevy Volt in electric only mode goes 2.78 miles per kWh.
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d5/2012_Chevrolet_Volt_EPA_window_sticker_0483.jpg

    Here is the source for CO2 produced per kWh from the DOE EIA. http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=74&t=11

    Coal’s share of electricity production has been falling with the low prices of natural gas. Coal is now producing about 40% of our electricity. http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=8450

    • http://sustainablog.org Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

      Just passed this along… and it’s been fascinating to follow this. I did know that coal’s share of electricity was down: fracked natural gas is too cheap for the competition…

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