In total, the US transportation sector—which includes cars, trucks, planes, trains, ships, and freight—produces nearly 30% of all US global warming emissions, more than almost any other sector.
Transportation is one of the United State’s largest sources of air pollution. In 2013, transportation contributed more than half of the carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, and almost a quarter of the hydrocarbons emitted into our air. All this pollution has serious implications for public health, including increased incidences of respiratory ailments like asthma and bronchitis.
Oil is expensive.
A typical American driver spends almost as much on gas as they do on purchasing their vehicle. Collectively, we spend around 2 billion dollars on oil and petroleum products per day.
Drilling more isn’t the answer, either: so-called “new oil” is just as dirty, dangerous, and expensive as ever before. The real solution is to use less oil.
Americans living in areas served by public transportation save 865 million hours in travel time and 450 million gallons of fuel annually in congestion reduction alone.
Households near public transit drive an average of 4,400 fewer miles than those with no access to public transit. This equates to an individual household reduction of 223 gallons per year.
One person switching to public transit can reduce daily carbon emissions by 20 pounds, or more than 7,000 pounds in a year.
Communities that invest in public transit reduce the nation’s carbon emissions by 37 million metric tons annually. This impact is equivalent to as if New York City, Washington DC, Atlanta, Denver, and Los Angeles combined were to stop using electricity.
A chart of emissions from different forms of transportation:
Form of Transportation:
10,111.5 Ibs CO2/Year
6,966 Ibs CO2/Year
Electric car (EV)
4,815 Ibs CO2/Year
300 Ibs CO2 per hour of flying per person
3,111 Ibs CO2/Year