Energy Efficiency in Transportation
On the Move: Transportation
Motor vehicles are the major source of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in the Bay Area.
Each gallon of gasoline we burn produces 19 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2), the primary greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Each gallon of diesel fuel we burn produces over 22 pounds of CO2. (Plus, additional CO2 emissions are produced by drilling, refining, and shipping the fuel to your vehicle.) The average American household consumes 1,143 of gasoline per year, thus emitting 25,146 pounds (12.6 tons) of CO2 per year from driving alone.
Driving consumes a huge amount of energy. According to the 2005 edition of the Transportation Energy Data Book published by the U.S. Dept. of Energy, the transportation sector accounts for nearly 30% of total energy use in the U.S. To make matters worse, we've been going backward in terms of motor vehicle energy efficiency. Increased sales of gas-guzzling SUVs and trucks in recent years have reversed earlier progress toward increasing the average fuel economy of the U.S motor vehicle fleet.
Purchasing and driving a clean, fuel-efficient vehicle is one of the most important ways to conserve energy and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.
Air District Clean Vehicle page
CARB “Drive Clean” page
U.S. Dept. of Energy motor vehicle fuel economy info
U.S. EPA Green Vehicle Guide
ACEEE Environmental Guide to Cars & Trucks
Limit your driving: You can also save energy and reduce emissions by reducing your driving. You can use transit, carpool, or combine trips (trip linking) to reduce the amount you drive.
Walking is ideal for many short trips. It's great exercise and great for the environment.
Riding a bicycle is the most efficient and economical means of transportation ever devised. And cycling is great exercise and fun, to boot. See Air District's bicycling web page.
Shopping and Shipping
Consume whole foods and local products. The freight industry and food processing both consume a tremendous amount of energy. Agriculture and food production account for at least 16% of our total energy consumption in the U.S. Buying local products and eating unprocessed, local foods can save energy and reduce pollution.
Food, Fuel, and Freeways
Sustainable Table: Fossil Fuel & Energy Use
Eating local food: http://www.locavores.com
Avoid bottled water. Bottled water has many negative environmental impacts. These include the energy and water required to produce the bottles, shipping the heavy liquid long distances on trucks, and disposing of the billions of plastic bottles produced each year. According to a bottled water fact sheet provided by the Pacific Institute, Americans consume 17 million barrels of oil per year just to produce our plastic bottles - this results in emissions of 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas. And this figure does not include the energy and greenhouse gases related to shipping. All told, Pacific Institute estimates that it requires three liters of water and one liter of oil to produce a single liter of bottled water. That's very wasteful. In the Bay Area, we enjoy high quality municipal water. So save money and protect the environment by drinking the good water that comes out of your faucet.