This interesting article from Wired (and Mother Jones) explains Why Flying Home for the Holidays Might Be Greener Than Driving.

The overall theme of the article relates to calculating and comparing one’s carbon footprint due to driving a vehicle verse taking an airplane to travel to your holiday destination.

Some interesting points in the article that SUPPORT air travel include:

  • Airplanes fly more efficiently today due to (1) better engines, (2) better design and aerodynamics, and (3) lighter weight materials inside and out. — “[F]rom 1970 to 2010, the amount of energy consumed per mile, per passenger, on an average domestic flight dropped 74 percent. From 1968 to 2014, the fuel efficiency of new airplanes improved 45 percent, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT).”
  • Airplanes carry more passengers today — “Today the average domestic flight takes off with 84 percent of its seats filled, up from 70 percent in 2002, according to federal data. … [F]lying uses 52 percent less energy than driving does to move one person one mile.”

carbon footprint flying

The article continues to juggle the debate of plane vs. car with a combination of factors that make accurate comparisons difficult, if not impossible. Add in Greyhound or other passenger buses for added confusion. Nevertheless, it would seem that the farther the distance traveled, the better cruising efficiency of air travel.

As I see it, I’ll put my 50 MPG Prius up against any 747 buzzing around the continental U.S. But just wait until we have the hyperdrive to engage. That’ll be a game-changer.

Does going green or your carbon footprint play a factor in your travel plans?
Will flying ever really be greener than driving?



Subscribe in the sidebar!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.