The business of getting from here to there generates large environmental impacts. Transportation accounts for about 28%, 31%, and 24% of U.S., EU, and world energy consumption, respectively. Relative CO2 emissions linked to transportation are similar. How much impact transportation has on the environment depends on several factors, including the mode of transport, the fuel used, the passenger and cargo load, and the distance traveled.
In this report, we examine the relative environmental impacts of various modes of travel, recognizing that in any given situation, transport choices may be quite limited. Nonetheless, choices made can significantly influence environmental impact. Consequently, individual decisions, and/or public policy shifts which broaden or influence the choice of transport options, have the potential to immensely reduce the impacts of travel.