This past week’s Green Living class was focused on my favorite subject, transportation. Ever since I was a young’in I have loved cars. Many pictures showcased me clutching a Matchbox or Hotwheel car. I had a race car bed and created traffic jams in the entryway of my house with those Matchbox and Hotwheels. Luckily, no one in my family ever tripped on them while navigating in and out of the front door.
I drove home from school the first day I got my permit at 15 and a half then obtained my CA driver’s license on my 16th birthday. I have always been a car enthusiast, since I have been subscribed to Car and Driver at the age of 11. I feel lucky to have my career grown with the automotive industry.
Back to talking cars, I have mostly owned the Japanese brands as I like the reliability, resale value and tech features. I included a photo of my first car with the personalized plate “UZ2 BIKE” as in, I use to ride my bike all over the place before getting my license. Another keeper is the picture of my one and only rear-ending which took place in my college years at UofA in Tucson. I left my mark and I am apparently not a perfect driver (insert sarcastic tone).
Needless-to-say, I am a car nut and can talk about it on and on and on. Instead, I wanted to provide some food-for-thought on the environmental impact of driving that may help you consider alternative forms of transportation as I have.
- In a study of 32 major cities, those with the highest public transportation utilization have the lowest greenhouse gas emissions.
- Each gallon of gas used by a car contributes approximately 20 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2), which means a single car driving the average 1,000 miles per month create 120 tons of CO2 annually.
- 30% of urban trips in the Netherlands are on bicycle compared with 1% in US.
- The US consumes 18 million barrels of oil each day, each barrel contains 42 gallons though yields 20 gallons of gasoline. Therefore, the US consumes 360 million gallons of gasoline each day.
- The grain required to fill an SUV’s 25-gallon tank with ethanol (E85, Flex-Fuel, corn-based) could feed one person for a year.
- One half of the energy consumed in California is for transportation.
- Cars cause at least 60% of the air pollution in Southern California.
- A single city bus can take 40 vehicles off the road, saving 1,850 gallons of gas.
- If 190,000 car owners started to get tune-ups regularly and monitored tire pressure, it would keep 90 million pounds of CO2 out of the atmosphere.
Interestingly enough, these environmental reasons are not the largest driving force that has pushed me to leave the car at home to collect dust. Los Angeles traffic, traffic lights, freeways, potholes, inattentive texting/Facebooking/iDriving drivers and a common case of the “road rages” have soured my relationship with driving. Each of the fore-mentioned topics deserve its own ongoing series, but I will keep it to short blog posts to minimize the ranting associated.
Happy Commuting – GreenUp! Guy