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The Greenest Ways to Get Around

Note: In response to reader feedback on this post, the makers of the infographic below updated it and resent us a copy, so we reposted it at 2:52 PM on May 7, 2013. The infographic was not created by National Geographic. You’ve probably heard by now that how you get around has a big impact...

Note: In response to reader feedback on this post, the makers of the infographic below updated it and resent us a copy, so we reposted it at 2:52 PM on May 7, 2013. The infographic was not created by National Geographic.

You’ve probably heard by now that how you get around has a big impact on the environment. Overall, transportation accounts for about 30 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and our fossil-fuel infrastructure has a number of downsides, from promoting sprawl to oil spills and pollution from fracking.

Fortunately, there is also an increasing number of alternatives. Car companies are offering more efficient cars than ever, from hybrids to ultra-compacts, from electric vehicles to those powered by biofuels. Transit ridership is up, new lines are being built in many cities, and more people are taking their bikes to work, or even walking.

Plus, more people are opting to live closer to work, as cities become cool, and safe, once again, reversing at least part of the flight to the burbs.

We have a long way to go to be a truly sustainable society, of course, but there is hope and progress.

This infographic highlights some of the gains, such as the fact that 37 million metric tons of carbon dioxide are saved daily by U.S. public transportation.

So “stop being an S.O.V.,” a single occupant vehicle, as the graphic suggests. Some 86 percent of us still drive to work, and 76 percent of those do it alone. (Remember that World War II poster, “when you drive alone you drive with Hitler…”)

I take Washington, D.C.’s metro (subway) to work every morning, and it’s great. I read the paper to get a jump start on the day’s news. In the evenings, I sometimes walk the hour home, or often walk at least part way before grabbing a metro.

How do you get to work?

greenest ways to get around infographic
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