SUV More “Green” than the Subway?


SUV More “Green” than the Subway?

I know that I have hinted at one time or another here on the blog about the inconsistencies the green movement has as it relates to cars and their “Carbon Footprint.” A new study is out. Read about it here.

It boils down to this: Taking into account everything that goes into mass transit (rail, air, etc) and comparing them to a car, depending on the load levels, the amount of carbon spewed into the atmosphere per passenger mile might just be more in a partially loaded light rail line (like San Francisco’s BART or Boston’s MTA) than in a fully loaded SUV.

The study took into account the building of the light rail or airport infrastructure, the manufacturing of the rail cars or airplanes, ongoing maintenance, the way the electricity used to power the trains was generated, and the load levels.

It then compared those figures to an SUV, sedan, and pickup truck.

The findings don’t surprise me at all. If a politically motivated groups says something, the chances are that exactly the opposite is true. In this case, the results aren’t as straightforward as we have been led to believe. It works like this:

If the trains or planes are fully loaded, then the carbon footprint per passenger mile is a winner for the greens, however if they are less than half full, then the fully loaded SUV takes the prize. Hmmmmm.

If you use a tad of common sense, you can figure this out for yourself. Researchers at UC Davis, not known as a hotbed of anti environmental groups, released the report.

I can see it now. There will be a law passed that says an airplane can’t take off unless it’s full, and a train can’t leave the station without every seat filled.

Don’t shutter your garages and parking lots just yet. The automobile may survive to park another day.

Makes about as much sense as what we have seen the government do related to “global warming” nonsense.


By the way – it snowed in this week in North Dakota (first time in 60 years) Green Bay broke a cold record set in 1943.


John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. Interesting research.
    Goes along with my personal position that instead of spending billions of $’s on capital projects for mass transit why not invest a minute fraction of that into promoting car and van pools? It’s potentially a much more effective means of reducing congestion, requires no capital investment in new infrastructure, would have an immediate impact on air quality and would also have an immediate impact on the participants wallets (commuters and employers). The money we would not be investing in more questionable transit projects could instead be diverted to education or other areas where it could be used to create more jobs. Car and Van pools have the potential to cut our peak time congestion by as much as 50% for a capital investment of exactly $0. Car and Van pools would reduce the impact on our existing roads and infrastructure and would in turn reduce the ongoing costs associated with their upkeep. By getting more people into fewer cars we would reduce the number of traffic related accidents and the associated costs. We would also eliminate the political battles over who gets what, with the car and van pool concept everybody gets an equal benefit.
    It just seems so simple and obvious. Am I missing something? Of course none of the approaches to traffic and congestion reduction are going to work as long as we keep building more and more free, or subsidized parking.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Only show results from:

Recent Posts

A Note from a Friend

I received this from John Clancy. Now retired, John worked in the technology side of the industry for decades. I don’t think this needs any

Read More »

Look out the Window

If there is any advice I can give it’s concerning the passing scene. “Look out the window.” Rather than listen to CNN or the New

Read More »


See all Blog Posts

Send message to

    We use cookies to monitor our website and support our customers. View our Privacy Policy