NerdWallet: 4 ideas for travelers who want to reduce their carbon footprint

by | Apr 18, 2023 | Stock Market

This article is reprinted by permission from NerdWallet.  Travel, by nature, takes energy. Moving our bodies around the globe requires fuel, often in the form of carbon-emitting fossil fuels. Air travel generates 11% of total U.S. transportation emissions, according to a 2021 White House fact sheet. That’s a huge number, but it points to another big carbon toll: 89% of emissions happen on the ground.

Thankfully, being a more sustainable traveler doesn’t require enormous sacrifice — or expense. Reducing the impact of getting around on the ground at your destination is easy and can improve the quality of your trip. See: Earth-warming carbon-dioxide emissions hit a record high in 2022 as air travel roared back to life1. Visit transit-friendly destinations For many destinations, the airport signs that point to “ground transportation” have only a couple of options: rideshares and rental cars. Neither of these is very carbon-friendly, according to a 2022 report from the Congressional Budget Office, which estimates that cars release just under half a pound of carbon dioxide per passenger mile traveled. On the other hand, rail transit releases less than half as much carbon per passenger mile, making it far less emission intensive.

Choosing to visit destinations with robust public train networks, such as New York City or Tokyo, can significantly improve the eco-friendly options for getting around. Conversely, visiting destinations that all but require a rental car, such as the island of Maui in Hawaii, can balloon your carbon footprint on top of th …

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