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