3 Smart Green Transportation Options

The transportation sector is responsible for an enormous amount of pollution, from fuel extraction and processing to greenhouse gas emissions and smog. Thankfully, old and new technologies alike can help us clean up our footprint as we get from here to there. Here are three options to consider.

1. Cargo Bike

A cool trend in green transportation is the use of cargo bikes (sometimes called pedicabs), mainly in cities. The idea is that pedal power transports people or bins of cargo (see photo above) — meaning goods can be delivered and people can get around without the use of fuel. Some companies that operate locally are even delivering their goods with bike power.

You can create your own cargo bike by hooking a small cart to the back of your bicycle. You can take your recycling to the recycling center or take trips to the store or farmers market and transport your goods home without relying on a vehicle.

To learn much more about this trend, see Cargo Bikes and Pedicabs.

2. Commuter Bicycle

To make your daily commute to work — or even your weekly commute around town to run errands — there are many great bike options. Biking is a win-win: You get great exercise, enjoy fresh air, and can feel great about using a green form of transportation.

If you’ve thought about commuting by bike, but aren’t sure which bicycle is right for you, check out the tips in What the Right Bike Can Do for You.

3. Green Car

If the distance between point A and point B is too great for a bicycle or walking — and mass transit isn’t an option — a car can be a necessity. There have been many great strides made in green car technology over the past decade, and your options (check out Best Green Cars for some of them) now extend far beyond the well-known Prius hybrid. New all-electric vehicles, such as the Nissan Leaf, are getting great expert and driver reviews.

While the upfront cost of a hybrid or electric vehicle may be prohibitive, the car can pay for itself over time in fuel cost savings and maintenance cost savings (think no oil changes for an electric car!). Plus, you can take advantage of a $7,500 federal tax credit for the purchase of many green cars — and be sure to look into what state tax incentives may also be available in your area.

You may have heard some common arguments against green cars. Probably the most common is that if an electric car runs on electricity generated by a coal-fired power plant, it isn’t actually cleaner than a regular gas car. The math has been crunched on this issue, and you can find the answers in the article Why Electric Cars Are Cleaner.

There have also been some recent concerns about the safety of electric and hybrid cars; rumors on this issue were fueled by a Chevy Volt catching on fire. The green cars on the market today actually have excellent safety ratings, and you can read much more about this issue in The Truth About Electric Car Safety.

If you do drive a gas-only car, you can still make driving it as clean as possible by hypermiling (using driving techniques that help you get better gas mileage). Learn how in Save Gas with Hypermiling.

What are your favorite means of green transportation?

Photo by Metro Pedal Power

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Warren Webber
Warren Webberabout a year ago

Live long and prosper

Winn Adams
Winn Adams3 years ago


Ra Sc
Ra Sc3 years ago

These are probably useful ideas for some people.

Nikolas Karman
Nikolas K.3 years ago

I use a 400cc scooter with plenty of storage and it takes me to the same places as a car. The scooter uses about I gallon for 60+ miles. try getting that in a car. In my state we can park anywhere on the sidewalk so parking near our destination is not a problem. Its governments which cause the problems when they work for the corporations and not the people.

Doug Gledhill
Doug G.3 years ago

There are horrific costs, financially and environmentally in owning an automobile. I remember how some automobile manufactures were promoting the idea of having so much "freedom" with a car back in the '60s and '70's, which has always been a bunch of crap.
Still, true to form, people buy into the illusion being promoted by some marketing yahoo and here we are today, with cost higher than ever before. Funny, I know of a nurse who informs me that people actually solicit her for handicap parking stickers, who don't need them, just so their overweight lazy butt doesn't have ambulate any more than absolutely necessary. Then they wonder why there are so many fat people these days.
Trying to get this anal retentive society off its large buttocks won't happen anytime soon, for the majority , because they are just too special to have to walk or ride a bike.

Bruce Anderson
Bruce Anderson3 years ago

It seems to me an impossibility to put a car into a discussion with biking, walking. Yes I have emissions like a car, but they at least are self-serving and pleasant enough if no one else is biking with me. But a car is, right? something that creates 20lbs. of CO2 for every gal. burned. They're addictions I think. Furthermore, think of the resources that go into the manufactur of the vehicle, and the strangely non-sensical relationship that follows: my bike equals 20lbs. and I'm a 160lb. man, therefore a pound of bike carries 8lbs. of meat. On the other hand: 3000lbs. of car carries a 200lb. man so that 15lbs. of car transports a lb. of my strawman. How can one even begin to justify their car? Just me thinking...

Ron B.
Ron B.3 years ago

Like Kevin C. I also hyper-mile whenever possible. And my Honda CRV's real-time mileage read-out is a great way to get instant feedback on how I'm driving at any given moment. Am looking forward to checking out the 2013 plug-in hybrids when they arrive.

Mary Donnelly
Mary Donnelly3 years ago

Thanks--great post.

Kenneth D.
Kenneth Davies3 years ago


Kevin Cline
Past Member 3 years ago

I'm a hypermiler. On cross country trips on the interstate, I can improve my fuel economy by 10 MPG. I have found that 65 mph is the ideal travel speed for my car, a Chevy Cobalt. I try to get behind a straight truck (van trailer) that looks like a consistent, right lane driver. I don't tailgate, but hang about 60 to 65 feet behind. You can judge that distance by watching similar trucks, when they pass. I go online and scout the cheapest gas stations up ahead on Gas Buddy.

If your car has a MPG fuel calculator, utilize it. It will help tremendously in finding optimal fuel economy.

Here are some useful websites with info for your hypermiling enjoyment!