This one’s pretty obvious at the basic level. It’s better to walk or cycle than catch a plane. But there are some figures below which drive home (sorry) the differences.

We’ve got 2 cars from the days before we retired. Maybe we should get rid of one, but that’s something to look into later. One is a modern VW Golf petrol automatic that is doing around 55mpg in its “eco” mode. The other is a 2004 Suzuki Wagon R. I don’t know the mpg, but it’s a lot less.

According to the Next Green Car website which compares the real world emissions of many cars, the Golf emits 276 grams of CO2 per mile and the Suzuki 384 gCO2 per mile. That’s what comes out of the exhaust pipe plus what is released in producing and transporting the fuel. It doesn’t include the CO2 released in the manufacturing of the car.

Putting that in perspective, here are the grams of CO2 emitted per mile travelled using various forms of transport taken from the Green Ration Book website, with specific car models’ real world figures from Next Green Car.

It’s worth remembering that the train, coach, bus and plane figures are per passenger per mile, whereas the car is for the vehicle, so the more passengers in the car, the better the figures become. The train is by far the best other than walking and bike, so the last column says how much worse than a train each is.

Mode Grams C02 per mile How much worse than train?

Foot

0

Bicycle

0

Train

40

Coach

80
x2

City bus

170
x4

new small car

220

x 5½

medium hybrid car

260

x 6½

new medium car

280
x7

new large car

320
x8

long haul flight

340
x8

Porche 911

405
x10

short haul flight

415
x10

Range Rover

500
x12

domestic flight

505
x12

Porsche Cayenne

590
x15

Ferrari 488

590
x15

Some of these figures are pretty surprising and some are shocking, so I’ve written a blog post putting them in perspective.

Transport is a huge subject, so we’ll be returning to it again and again, and if you’ve got any specific questions or ideas, please leave a comment below. Thanks.

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