In celebration of Earth Day, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) reminds us that taking public transit is among the most effective ways of reducing our daily carbon footprint because of its ability to take cars off the road.
When APTA examined the bus fleet alone, more than 35% of U.S. public transportation buses use alternative fuels or hybrid technology, as of January 1, 2011. This is a striking contrast to the 1.3% of automobiles that used alternative fuels in 2010, according to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Annual Outlook.
“Public transportation is leading the way with environmentally efficient vehicles,” said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy. “The public transit vehicle fleet is the proving ground for environmental technology that may someday become a part of the nation’s automobile fleet.”
APTA statistics for early 2011 show that 18.6% of U.S. transit buses used compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG) and blends. Almost 9% (8.8%) of public transit buses were hybrids and nearly 8% (7.9%) of public transit buses used biodiesel.
“Today’s modern public transit bus is increasingly either a hybrid or is powered by fuels that are good for the environment,” said APTA Chair Flora Castillo. “The public transportation industry is a green industry and is committed to improving the environment.”
From operating environmentally-friendly bus and rail vehicles, building LEEDS certified facilities, using solar bus shelters, and recycling bus wash water, the U.S. public transportation industry — both public and private sectors — uses green technologies to further reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality, and help our country reach energy independence.
APTA noted that U.S. public transportation use saves 37 million metric tons of carbon emission every year. Additionally, since public transit use in the U.S. saves 4.7 billion gallons of gasoline annually, public transit riders are doing their part to help our nation be energy independent, according to APTA.
A carbon savings calculator is available here.
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