US: researcher sees plane travel safer and greener than driving image

The environmentalist that also travel a lot should take note – if you’re concerned about the impact you make you might take a second though about the car-trip planned for the summer. And switch it with a plane ride.

According to University of Michigan researcher Michael Sivak, there are numerous statistical factors that make plane flight not only safer than driving, but also easier on the environment.“Although the fuel economy of new vehicles is continuously improving, and these improvements are likely to accelerate given the recent update to the corporate average fuel economy standards, changes in fuel economy of new vehicles take a long time to substantially influence the fuel economy of the entire fleet,” commented the researh professor at UMTRI. He is also the director of Sustainable Worldwide Transportation, a research firm that seeks to resolve crucial road transportation problems across the world. He based his conclusion on the analysis of the energy needed for driving versus flying, taking light-duty vehicles in a direct comparison to US domestic plane flights. It appears that measuring the energy in British Thermal Units (BTU) per person and mile, with the data concerning the 1970 to 2012 period, flying is twice more efficient.

For 2012, the BTU per person mile for airline flights was 2,033 compared to 4,211 – that would mean the entire US fleet of light-duty vehicles would need to jump from the current fuel economy of 21.6 mpg to 44.7 mpg only to be on par with flying, and that without taking into account the latter’s ongoing improvements.