Eco-Friendly Travel: How Electric Cars Are Impacting the Environment

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When trying to be an eco-friendly traveler, the first thing you’ll want to look at is the impact of your travel method. Trains, cars, buses, and planes all have a variety of impacts on the environment. The impact we’ll be analyzing together today is the impact of electric cars on the environment, so you can get a better idea of what kind of carbon footprint you’re leaving in your stead as you travel in your EV.

How are electric cars impacting the environment?

There are a lot of myths surrounding electric cars (or electric vehicles/EVs) and how they impact the environment in comparison to non-electric cars. The Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) has an app called the CLIOBIL app, which is a tool specifically built so you can compare and contrast the impact of a car powered by petrol/gas and an EV. You can read about it in their article, which was published on 09/18/2019, titled “So You Think You’re a Green Traveller?

According to many major sources, including EDF Energy, the EPA, and MIT Climate, electric vehicles are far better for the environment than gas-powered vehicles. Specifically, the EPA states that EVs typically have a smaller carbon footprint than gas-powered vehicles, even factoring in the electricity used to charge the vehicle. This is sourced from their article, titled Electric Vehicle Myths. Another common concern also addressed in that article is that EVs are worse because of battery manufacturing processes. Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory did the research and actually found that the overall lifetime GHG emissions for EV manufacturing are still lower than for those from the gasoline vehicle.

MIT Climate states that, overall, EV cars more than make up for their environmental impact despite battery manufacturing processes. While the general consensus is the goal of having EVs with the least possible impact, some things cannot be helped, but the process of switching to EVs can help reduce emissions in comparison to internal combustible engines.

Turning back to EDF, their article states that just in a year, even a single electric car can save an average 1.5 million grams of CO2, which equates to four return flights from London to Barcelona. EDF personally states that more than a third of the lifetime CO2 emissions from an electric car come from the energy used to make the car itself. Most of the environmental impact, again, circles back to the making of the car, not the actual driving, wherein we can see a huge reduction of emissions due to the lack of emissions from a tailpipe in comparison to a gasoline-powered car.

How to be eco-friendly while you travel

Staying environmentally-conscious can be challenging when traveling. However, there are a few things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint.

Rent an electric vehicle. You can, of course, rent an electric car during your travels. You can also opt for an electric scooter. If you’re feeling fancy, you can get in some extra exercise and simply walk to your destinations around town, or rent a bicycle from a local shop. Especially in Europe, foot travel is far more common and public transportation is far more accessible in comparison to the States.

Keep up with your recycling. Making sure you recycle appropriately can be huge. Again, especially if you’re traveling in Europe, there are often specific places for recycling to go, so make sure you brush up on your recycling etiquette before you travel. If there are local restrictions or regulations surrounding recycling, it’d be good to be in the know before you land!

Don’t litter. Making sure you properly dispose of your trash, recycling, papers, plastic, etc. can have a huge impact on the environment, both globally and locally. Keep up with throwing things away as you use them.

Opt for reusable containers if you can. Reusable containers like a thermos, water bottle, or coffee cup with a lid can be brought into any coffee shop and made in your cup. This can reduce the amount of cardboard, plastic, and other waste. Bringing your own metal straws – especially if you don’t like paper straws! – can reduce single-use plastics as well.

Try to find eco-friendly flights. Often, when shopping for flights, you can look at the flight on Google Flights and see what the CO2 emissions for that particular flight are. If you’re comfortable with adjusting your preferred flight times or airline, you can often find a way to lower your CO2 footprint by choosing a different flight that has lower emissions. You can do this for domestic and international flights alike.

With airport and city parking all across the United States, On Air Parking has got you covered with EV-compatible parking spots in their lots. Free cancellations up to the start date of your reservation means that you can change your reservation with no hidden fees or costs, and there are often complimentary shuttle services to and from the airport. If you have questions, you can reach out to customer service via email at Customer service phone hours are Monday through Friday, 10am to 7pm ET, available by call at 888-487-2754 or texting 424-532-8940. Reservations are a breeze online or on our Apple and Android compatible app!