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Encouraging North Americans to Pollute Less, Consume Fewer Resources, and Use Less Energy since 2007.

(Better Late Than Never).
 
 

 

 

Transportation

Since it depends on so many variables (vehicle, terrain, weather, distance, cargo, passengers, speed, weight, surface, destination, route, etc.) it is rather difficult to determine whether one type of transportation is better or worse than another type. Best is to not burn fossil fuels for transportation or moving about. Not good news. Fortunately, there are other solutions.

Automobile related advice can be found here.

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Use public mass transportation whenever you can Public transportation is, depending on the infrastructure, reliable, inexpensive ( when calculated with all cost factors in mind), often faster, and more efficient the more people use it since it is on the road in any case. There is much less pollution per person involved in public mass transport than with passenger cars. It may cost you more, but you may be allowed to transport bulky items on wheels if they fit into the vehicle.
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Use small motorcycle A large motorcycle may use as much gas as a small automobile and can transport only two people. Cruising and high performance street bikes are not designed for efficient transportation in regard to gasoline consumption. Making a motorcycle costs energy which off-sets any gasoline savings. It makes only sense to own one if you do not own a car. A small motorcycle pollutes less.
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Ride with another person Two people on one motorcycle is better than one. Half the pollution. Even better if you use a small bike.
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Pack the car full of people The more folks you can get in there, the less pollution it will be per person. If you do not know anyone who needs to go where you need to go, call a ride-share service to see if they have someone interested who will even pay a share of the gas. Pollute less + save money.
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Make sure it is 4-stroke 2-stroke engines burn oil with the gas. Also, many high-performance two-stoke engines exhaust unburned gasoline fumes. Not only does it pollute because it burns gas, now it also blows carcinogenic materials into the air.
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Use snowmobile or four-wheeler only if you have to Both are machines that create a lot of pollution. If you need to use it, go ahead. If you are doing it for fun, remember that you are having fun at the expense of others. Consider down-hill sledding if you are in need of an adrenaline rush. Consider snowshoeing or cross country skiing if you are in need of looking at a beautiful winter scenery.
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Get a trailer for your car If you  have to move things only once in a while use a trailer and your regular car. Much less pollution than driving an empty truck or SUV every day.
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Don`t own a car If you live in a city with good infrastructure and public transportation you could consider not even owning a car. There may be a car sharing organization in your city.
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Combine trips Get many things in one trip rather than making three trips. Wait with using your car or truck until you have several place to go. Try to get things that are on the way. Driving once rarely is better than driving often for shorter trips.
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Get a bicycle trailer to transport more stuff with the bike. There are some bike trailers you can buy that allow you to move even large objects like refrigerators or couches. Try that with your regular passenger car! Other than the fabrication of the vehicle, there is no pollution while you move things with a bicycle and a trailer. If the distances are short and you are in good shape, a bike trailer is usually enough.
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Ride your bike Every time you ride your bike rather than driving your car, you do not pollute and you get in shape at the same time. Put fenders on your bike and you stay dry when it rains. Put lights on your bike and you can travel in the dark. You can even mount studded snow tires for snow and ice conditions. If you need to go shopping use a backpack or panniers. The bicycle is the most common used transportation vehicle in the world. There are solutions - most of us are just not in the habit of working our muscles to get to places.
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Drive instead of flying The shorter the flight, the higher the negative impact of airplane travel. The older the airplane the higher the negative impact will be. All turbine powered airplanes pollute in the higher levels of the atmosphere, where it is especially damaging. If you can drive to where you need to be it is less damaging to use the car, especially if fully loaded with people and driven conservatively. In addition to the airplane pollution there is also airplane construction, airplane disposal, airport construction, etc. to be considered. Sure, sure it takes more time to drive. There is a reason why we fly - the reason just costs the environment.
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Get a trailer for your car If you do not need to transport bulky thing at all times, consider getting a trailer for your regular passenger car. A trailer can be disconnected from the car and you create only more pollution when you need to transport bulky items. This is in contrast to SUVs or small trucks which pollute more all the time, loaded or not.
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Let your kids take the school bus Not only is it safer, it is also cleaner because only one vehicle is traveling the route.
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Bring your kids to school yourself If bringing your kids to school is on the way you have to go anyway AND the school bus would have to make a detour to pick up your kids, bring them to school yourself. No vehicle travels extra - you avoided the increase of pollution.
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Row or sail The vast majority of power boats including personal water craft (PWC) are designed with performance in mind, not fuel efficiency. This will probably change, but transportation over the water is much less polluting if you row or sail your boat. Even across-ocean transport could be more energy-efficient if sails were used to help when the wind is right.
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Sail, not motor If there is no wind, don`t use the motor of your sail boat. Stay where you are if possible (and safe) and wait for the wind to transport you without pollution.
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Walk sometimes Walking a couple of miles does not pollute. Driving a car does. Walk to the post office, grocery store, etc. This is not hard if you have to transport only a few items. It takes more time, but why drive a car to deliver a few letters or get milk?
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Use the train With the possible exception of high speed trains (which battle very high air-resistance), a train requires less energy to move than cars of trucks because there is very little friction between the wheels and the track. Regular speed trains pollute less than cars and trucks. Freight trains can transport cargo more efficiently than trucks.
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Take the stairs Anytime you use escalators you require the motor to do a little extra work. If they are standing still when you approach them they will start up just for you which uses a good amount more energy than when they already move. The reason they shut down is because it wastes energy to have them moving all the time. So why use or turn them on if you can just as well take the stairs?
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Take the stairs Elevators use huge electric motors. Any time you use the elevator, you use energy. Find the stairs (good to know where they are in any case) and use them instead of the stair master in your local gym.
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Avoid cruise ships The purpose of a cruise ship is to move you from place to place with the highest amount of luxery you were willing to pay for. For North Americans that means cooling anything when it is too hot, heating anything when it is uncomfortably cool, more food than we can possibly eat, day and night entertainment that uses a lot of electricity, a cleaner than clean environment, etc. Cruise ships pollute - if you don`t use one you do not pollute that way.
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Pack aerodynamically The more aerodynamic you pack whatever cargo is exposed to the flow of air, the less air resistance you have to overcome and the less you pollute. Put the things you need to move inside the vehicle. If that is not possible, make sure it does not stick out. Just stand in front of the vehicle and look at it: If you see cargo sticking out you will push extra air and pollute more. Make sure it is tucked away.
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