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How to make your commute more sustainable

Did you know that emissions from transportation account for 27% of all emissions in the United States?

Changing how you get around can make a huge difference in your carbon footprint. Here are our top tips on how to make your commute more sustainable. 

Man bikes through a city

Carpool

It may seem simple, but carpooling on your commute can may quite a dent in your carbon footprint. One study found that by participating in carpooling programs, employees can reduce their yearly transportation-related emissions by 3-18% per year. Carpooling can save you money, too. If daily commuters carpooled 20 days a month, it would reduce driving costs by 40-50 percent. If you’re the one driving, you could still save $1,100 a year. To find carpooling opportunities in your area, try checking out RideFinders.

Practice eco-friendly driving

Changing how you drive can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save you money. According to the Department of Energy, aggressive acceleration and braking can waste fuel and lower mileage by 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent around town. Additionally, for every 5 miles per hour you drive over 60 mph, fuel economy is lowered by 7 percent. Also avoid idling, and make sure to stay up to date on vehicle maintenance to keep your mileage optimized.

An electric car is charged

Look for public transportation options

Did you know that you can save nearly $10,000 a year by taking public transportation instead of driving? It can also make a huge difference in your carbon footprint. Across the U.S, public transportation reduces emissions by 37 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. On an individual level, if your commute is 20 miles round-trip, you can save 4,800 pounds annually! To see what public transit options are available where you live, check out www.google.com/transit or the Transit app.

Adjust your working hours

If you work a 9-5, consider arriving and leaving either early or late. This can help you avoid idling in rush hour traffic, which save emissions while saving you time, stress, and gas. Did you know idling cars are responsible for around 30 million tons of CO2 emissions every year? Eliminating unnecessary idling would be the same as 5 million vehicles off the roads, according to the U.S Department of Energy.

Asking your supervisor about remote or hybrid work options can also save you from needing to commute as much. If everyone were to work from home just one day a week, CO2 emissions would decline by 24 million tons annually.

Get an electric car

While a big investment, switching from a gas to an electric car is one of the best things you can do to make your commute more sustainable. While they require electricity to charge, they still typically have a smaller carbon footprint than gasoline cars, according to the EPA. And while you’ll have to invest in an electric car upfront, it can save you thousands of dollars over time. According to a study done by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Idaho National Laboratory, the electricity required to run an electric vehicle can be as much as $14,480 cheaper than fueling a gas-powered car over the typical 15-year lifespan of the car.

Two adults ride an electric bike

Invest in an electric bike

Combine the convenience of a car with the sustainability of a bike and you get an electric bike. Riding an e-bike allows you to save emissions like you would with a regular bike, but in a speedier and less strenuous way. According to one study, e-bikes can emit over 100 times fewer pounds of greenhouse gases than a 30 mpg gas car! Our partner Rad Power Bikes offers e-bikes for all lifestyles, and when you purchase one with your FutureCard Visa® Card, you can get 6% cashback!

Move closer to work

If you’re looking to move, consider moving closer to work to shorten your commute, reduce your carbon footprint, and save money. You could also move somewhere more walkable or closer to public transportation, making it a lot easier to get around sustainably. The carbon footprint of rural areas is about 20% larger than urban areas, largely due to the lack of walkability and access to public transportation.

Consider going carless

If you already live somewhere walkable with access to public transportation, consider going carless altogether. With apps like Uber and Lyft and car-rental services like ZipCar available across the country, it’s easier than ever to rent a car on an hourly or daily basis if you need to get across town for a meeting. Not having a car is not only good for the planet, but can save you a ton of money on gas and maintenance costs over time.