Of course it’s best to bike with your vegan dish to the potluck… but if you are traveling, there are ways to reduce the carbon footprint even if you don’t have an Electric Vehicle.

EV Rental

A holiday tour could be the time to try out an EV. Browse online for prices, then plan your charge-ups at these links. Of course, the cleaner the energy you charge with, the better.
US https://pluginamerica.org/get-equipped/find-an-ev-charging-station/
Canada http://www.caa.ca/evstations/

Drive or Fly?

Bring along passengers!

Bring along passengers!

It’s almost always greener to drive (assuming the mpg are decent). If you go solo, the best choice can depend on the distance. Use the links below to compare the options for your trip.

1. Get the information

2. Put the numbers into the calculator, and voila!

San Francisco has a calculator specific to us.
Terrapass offers a simple one.
Climate Care Calculator lent us the one below (calculates tonnes instead of tons, but since you’re comparing, that doesn’t matter).

ICAO Calculator (International Civil Aviation Organization) –  more fine-tuned way to calculate the emissions from your flight.

Don’t forget to divide the emissions for your car by the number of passengers before you compare it to airplane emissions (which are generally per passenger).

Offsets?

If forking out a bit when you fly makes you feel like you’ve offset some of the damage you did, you’re not alone.  A number of offset-calculators and organizations will help you tally up and direct the money to an emission-reducing project. Choose your offset carefully; for example, the ones that ClimateCare offers include REDD projects. 350BA’s allies warn that REDD deals precipitate violence against indigenous people.
Terrapass handles carbon offsets and renewable energy certificates (holiday presents?).
ClimateCare handles carbon offsets, though in Euros so there may be an extra conversion fee.

Examples

Turns out driving from SFO to LA is better than flying, but for longer flights it may depend on other factors – the most important being the number of passengers in the car. I used the Climate Care calculator.

San Francisco to Los Angeles
Distance: 383 miles
Car mileage: 40 mpg
Passengers in car: 1
Total by car: 0.08 tonnes CO2 per car
Total by air: 0.09 tonnes CO2 per passenger in a full plane
Driving, even solo, saves 0.01 tonnes or 22 pounds CO2.

San Francisco to Toronto 
You can’t fly nonstop, so I selected one stop (one extra takeoff and landing) in Salt Lake City.
Distance: 2,636 miles
Car mileage: 40 mpg
Passengers in car: 1
Total by car: 0.55 tonnes CO2 per car
Total by air: 0.60 tonnes CO2 per passenger in a full plane
Driving, even solo, saves 0.05 tonnes or 110 pounds CO2.

SFO to New York
Distance: 2,906 miles
Car mileage: 40 mpg
Passengers in car: 1
Total by car: 0.60 tonnes CO2 per car
Total by air: 0.57 tonnes CO2 per passenger in a full plane
Flying saves .03 tonnes or 661 pounds CO2, compared to driving solo.