How to Reduce Carbon Emissions from Commuting

Learn more about helpful steps you can take to reduce your carbon emissions when you commute.

Joy Wang

If all humans were to live like Americans, we would need five earths. That’s four too many. So, what can I do to reduce my CO2 emissions?

As it turns out, there’s actually a lot that we can do -- it all starts with reframing the way we think about getting around. Driving, whether it be for errands or commute, accounts for almost one-third of USA’s annual carbon emissions. By making more sustainable choices around our personal transportation, we can make meaningful reductions on our carbon footprint.

But, that is easier said than done.

We understand that reducing transportation emissions in your daily life is much harder than it seems, especially in such a car-centric environment, so we provided a couple of tips to help you get started:

Eco-friendly is the way to move--Shift your commute one day at a time.

Now is the time to start saying goodbye to gridlock, long commute times, and costly maintenance. There are many low-carbon options that can make your commute more enjoyable. Active transportation such as biking, scooting, skating, or walking are all great alternatives for shorter commutes. For those that have to drive due to longer commutes and lack of public transit access, look for options to take vanpools, carpools, and transit.

The trick is to start one day at a time. If your employer offers flexible work arrangements, try using one of these modes the next time you need to head into the office. If you’re new to vanpooling, then you can “try-it-before-you-buy-it”. Many vanpool programs offer trial periods before becoming a full-time member, or you can use MagicBust to simply book rides whenever you need to.

Happy riding!

Errands can be exercise too.

Just like how you can change your commute one day at a time, you can choose more sustainable transportation for running errands, one errand at a time. Think about using some of the low-carbon options listed above or get moving and choose active transportation. The latter is not just beneficial to the health of the planet, but to our own as well. There are several apps and programs, including ones that your health insurance may provision, that reward you for becoming more active. Turn an errand into a workout!

Shop local, stay local.

Another hidden carbon emission is the transportation costs associated with delivering and shipping goods. Some studies have estimated that one ton of freight emits anywhere from 25g - 500g of CO2 per 0.6 mile. Explore and support your local merchants, creators, and growers. Not only will you be able to reduce the hidden carbon emissions from transportation of the goods, you’ll also vitalize the local economy by supporting the small businesses.

How is MagicBus doing their part?

We’ve asked some of our team members to share how they have been contributing to reducing their transportation carbon emissions and here are the results.

“I usually use my errands to squeeze in some time for exercise. Last time I had to pick up an item, I ran two miles and back.”

“Before getting vaccinated, I opted to walk everywhere--grocery store, grabbing takeout, and even to the post office! Now that I am vaccinated, I still walk, but I also opt for the Metro every now and then.”

“Four words: bus, bike, subway, repeat.”

“In San Francisco, I biked to work with my dog in a little trailer behind my bike.”

“I’ve been biking to work for the last ten years, so that should count for something!”

More Green Commuting Resources

Learn more about your carbon emissions from commuting using our carbon emissions calculator.

Updated 04/22/2021
Visit our Resources section to learn more about MagicBus technology and vanpooling resources