Reducing your CO2 footprint hinges are three big aspects of your life – your transportation decisions, your lifestyle choices, and your diet and waistline.
If you’re part of the 88% of American households that own a car, a meaningful way to really reduce your CO2 footprint is to start weaning either yourself or certain members of your household off of their dependency and proclivity to using a privately owned vehicles. And, if you are one of the 80% of Americans who live in or near an urban center, you have plenty of transportation options at your doorstep between walking, biking, hailing a taxi, jumping on a bus or train, or car-sharing. Each of these attractive options has considerably less CO2 output than owning and driving a car.
The basic premise is that any way you can share the energy consumed propelling a vehicle and better optimizing its overall use, can significantly reduce both your current and lifetime CO2 footprint. Plus if you can either delay or completely avoid purchasing a car in the near future – it will avoid all the energy consumed (embodied energy) and CO2 emitted manufacturing not only the car, but all the raw materials and parts that go into a new car. This is especially important these days, with cars being so sophisticated and chock full of electronics and batteries that require special, expense, and energy dense material. footprint.
Procrastination comes in handy when trying to reduce your carbon (CO2) footprint.
Any which way you can procrastinate buying a car, even delaying it by few weeks, or better yet a few months, even better, a few years, will have an incredible impact on keeping your carbon footprint light and spritely.
There are plenty of resources that can easily make this aspirational goal a reality. Today, there are dozens of free transportation apps already on the market, featuring anyone of the attractive alternatives.
More and more urban dwellers are assembling a collection of these transportation apps and organizing them on a dedicated phone screen. Today for every metropolitan area there are unique apps that will help you quickly scan across your options for getting from Point A to Point B. Pictured here is a screenshot of the author’s transportation app screen near our offices in Washington D.C..
Each option has its own CO2 footprint impact, convenience factor, elapsed time, calories expended, experience, and out of pocket expense.
Walk / Bike – There are apps to help you determine the walkability and bike-ability of the immediate area. (Walkscore, BikeShare)
Public Transportation – These days, every metro areas now has a pretty robust – live updates apps to help you determine your public transportation options with time-sensitive information on when the next bus or train will be arriving at a station near you. Simply search the app store for your hometown metro apps.
Car Sharing – There a three types of car sharing: one way, round trip, and peer-to-peer. (The Best Car Sharing Companies Review)
One Way – Car2Go is a leader in the blossoming one way space and now has over 2 million members worldwide. You can use a nearby car for a one way or roundtrip experience. Car2Go reports that every second someone rents one of its shared cars and every car2go vehicle take 11 privately owned cars off the road.
Round Trip – Zip Cars are typically parked and rented from a dedicated parking spot and are more popular as a roundtrip option for consumer errands. A fragmented, but growing segment is the peer-to-peer car sharing market, where you either rent your car to someone else or find one to rent for a few hours, days, or weeks – the Airbnb of cars.
Peer-To-Peer – Connects private car owners willing to rent out their car with those looking for a car for a few hours or days. This niche is the Airbnb of car rentals and two noteworthy organizations in this space or Turo and City Car Share.
If you are thinking about purchase a new or used car, According to AAA, it currently costs an average of $8,698 annually to own and operate a vehicle for 15,000 in the U.S. if you factor in all the costs, including depreciation. If you’re a two-car family, getting rid of one set of wheels might make sense once one or both partners are no longer working. You might be able to get by with public transportation or a car-share program, or at least downgrade to less-expensive vehicles. Plus if you’re in an urban area, you have to spend time thinking about parking the car, moving it on street cleaning days, moving it after certain hours, its security from break-ins along with all these related unexpected expenses.
Taxi – For those who are seeking convenience and pampering there are the popular car-hire and car-share apps. (Uber, Lyft)
A dedicated screen for your phone apps is a great way to organize your options and you’ll soon find that you have an impressive list of options to get between Point A to B., From a carbon footprint CO2 perspective just keep in mind that any way you can stay out your privately owned car’s driver seat will significantly reduce your carbon footprint and the CO2 you generate along with the earth’s other 7 billion residents and bring an earlier demise to your very own driver’s seat.