What's the impact of driving a car 5 miles?
April 26, 2010 8:25 AM   Subscribe

How much difference would it make if I walk to work, when I live so close?

I live 2 1/2 miles from work. I only work 4 days a week. I drive a 2009 Hyundai Elantra, automatic transmission. Most of the websites I see about carbon footprint are about the total impact of everything in one's lifestyle, but what I'm having trouble figuring out is, would it make any significant difference to the environment if I didn't drive my car to work? Or if I drove it only 3 days instead of 4? That kind of thing. Are there any sites that can give me those kinds of numbers?

I realize there are obvious health benefits to walking 5 extra miles a day, but I'd like to leave that out for now and just look at the environmental impact.
posted by JanetLand to Travel & Transportation (50 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
No, any changes you make would amount to a nanoscopic drop in the bucket. Sorry to be a downer :(
posted by mpls2 at 8:30 AM on April 26, 2010

This calculator says 1,349 lbs CO2 per year for 2000 miles/year with your car.

I bet it would save you a lot on car insurance too.
posted by ghharr at 8:32 AM on April 26, 2010

Every drop less is better than a drop more, right?
posted by HFSH at 8:32 AM on April 26, 2010

Best answer: i bet mlps doesn't vote either.

Hyundai claims that your car get 24 miles of city driving to the gallon. so you're burning about 0.8 gallons of gas per week, or about 42 gallons per year.

One gallon of gasoline produces about 19 pounds of CO2, so you're producing about 798 pounds (or 0.4 tons) of CO2 per year by driving to and from work.

The average North American produces 20 tons of CO2 per year. Simple division suggest that by walking to work you're eliminating roughly 2% of your carbon footprint. That's enough to make a difference.
posted by 256 at 8:38 AM on April 26, 2010 [10 favorites]

If you walk to work, your coworkers will notice. You will probably get a lot of questions about why you walk to work. You will help build a culture of environmental awareness in your workplace. Not everyone will start walking to work, but you might convince a few people to start carpooling. Your tiny drop in the bucket might just be the start of something bigger.
posted by mmmbacon at 8:39 AM on April 26, 2010 [34 favorites]

I say it makes a difference. 2% is far, far greater than nanoscopic.
posted by molecicco at 8:41 AM on April 26, 2010

Past your direct impact, don't forget the influence of your actions on others. You might not change the world, but you could be part of a movement that just might.
posted by asuprenant at 8:41 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Serious answer. Walk to work if you can.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:43 AM on April 26, 2010 [7 favorites]

You could also factor in wear and tear on the car - if you use it less, it will require fewer services, and you won't have to replace it as frequently.
posted by handee at 8:47 AM on April 26, 2010

To second mmmbacon, environmental impact is not always based on exact numbers but psychology as well. You start walking to work one day a week and then it becomes several. You develop stamina and get your walking legs and realize that the grocery store, the movie theater, the bar, whatever, are actually considerably more "walking distance" than you originally thought. Suddenly you're driving considerably less than you were before. You're getting your buddies to walk to the movies with you instead of all taking separate cars and meeting there. This sounds a bit grandiose and idealistic, but, hey, you sorta have to be w/r/t environmental impact as an individual.
posted by griphus at 8:48 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Mod note: comment removed - please do not turn this into an argument and don't be shitty to other commenters when making your own comments
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:48 AM on April 26, 2010

It might also make a significant difference to the health of your car. If most of your mileage is on short trips, it's much harder on the engine.
posted by expialidocious at 8:48 AM on April 26, 2010

The questions was "would it make any significant difference to the environment?" and the answer is "no" using any reasonable definition of the word "significant".

If world CO2 production dropped by 2% it would be a /huge/ deal. I don't see how the OP effecting a 2% decrease in the chunk of world CO2 production that she has influence over is not significant.
posted by 256 at 8:49 AM on April 26, 2010

Best answer: Of course walking instead of driving to work reduces your carbon footprint.

I wouldn't even think of it in terms of whether the specific amount would be "significant." I mean, you can figure out the number, as ghharr's comment points out. Look, any action done by one individual in their personal life is necessarily going to have a very tiny effect relative to the whole world. You're just one out of billions of people -- and even the whole human race is just one of many things that affects the environment. So if you (or mpls2) want to describe your actions as negligible, you can.

But it's unethical to use this as an excuse not to care about the effects of our actions. We can't change the fact that we're each relatively insignificant no matter what we do, but we should still aspire to do the best we can, in recognition of the fact that we have some effect greater than zero.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:50 AM on April 26, 2010 [8 favorites]

In addition to being environmentally friendly, it would also be healthy for you and most insurers have tiers of discounts once you drop below a certain yearly mileage (7,000/year for me, and it drops again at 5,000 and again below that).
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:56 AM on April 26, 2010

Best answer: Hyundai claims that your car get 24 miles of city driving to the gallon

This is a figure that assumes that the car is fully warm. It is unlikely you will achieve that mpg figure on such a short journey - certainly not for more than 3/4 of it. When you car is not at full operating temperature it uses a lot richer mixture (more fuel than normal per burn cycle) and is less efficient (and more polluting) as a result. You are possibly (likely) producing more carbon than 256 suggests.

In addition, if small journeys are a significant part of the use of your car, then you stand a chance of unburnt particles (that are gradually removed when the engine is operating at full temperature for extended periods) building up and further reducing the efficiency of your engine. Over time, the previous consumption figures you were getting may prove unobtainable and you will produce more carbon per journey. Your car will become less efficient and may need more servicing over time on top of the extra service requirement from the 2000 miles per year of your work journey (production of oils and consumables required, including tyres has environmental implications). Also, wearing your car out earlier is a high impact issue - no matter how fuel efficient a car is, producing it and getting it to your door is a massive hit of resources and energy. Maybe reducing your car use will mean your cars last a year or two more before each change. If this results in buying one or two less cars over your lifetime, that is a significantly reduced energy and resource cost.
posted by Brockles at 9:05 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Hyundai claims that your car get 24 miles of city driving to the gallon. so you're burning about 0.8 gallons of gas per week, or about 42 gallons per year.

By the way, over 2.5 miles you are probably burning more because car engines are less efficient while they warm up.
posted by atrazine at 9:07 AM on April 26, 2010

Reduced driving may be the most concrete way that you can reduce your carbon footprint. If you drive less there will quite literally be less CO2 in the atmosphere.

Most other actions are not so concrete. If you eat a bean burrito instead of a steak tonight, most people would say that you've reduced your carbon footprint. But what you've really done is created an infinitesimal change in our overall food economy, reducing demand for beef. Millions of such changes over time will eventually reduce beef production and lower CO2 emissions. But it is not nearly as direct. Same for reduced electricity use; staying off airplanes; etc.

I prefer the more concrete steps. Every pound of CO2 you emit today will stay in the atmosphere for about a hundred years. Every pound you can keep out of the atmosphere will help over the next hundred years, during which time we will (or won't) go through a catastrophic climate change. You are making a definite unalterable difference by walking instead of driving, a difference that doesn't depend on anyone else taking any action. So go for it, walk. You'll feel healthier, too.
posted by alms at 9:10 AM on April 26, 2010

Best answer: Yay - I know this! My company provides information on this exact topic to organizations. I spend all day fighting with these numbers!

You want to replace 20 miles (2.5 miles * 2 (return trip) * 4 (days a week) with walking.
According to my stats, your 2009 Elantra gets around 28 mpg.

So - you're saving 0.7 gallons of gas a week.

The EPA has a good calculator here:

So... your 1 gallon/week means over a year, you'd save ~37 gallons of fuel.
According to the calculator, this would save 0.329 metric tons of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) over the course of the year.

That's about the carbon sequestered from 0.07 acres of pine or fir forest annually.
(The calculator I linked to has other equivalents, as well)

So yes, it makes a difference! Each little bit helps, and it quickly adds up if you were (for example) to get a portion of a large workplace to make these green commuting choices.
posted by cgg at 9:15 AM on April 26, 2010 [3 favorites]

There are some psychological benefits to walking as well.

I did this for a couple jobs I had (about the same distance). Walking is a great way to get yourself awake up in the morning and (unlike drinking lots of coffee) is relaxing at the same time. So I'd start off work in a good frame of mind. Things could get stressful and go down hill pretty quickly when I got there, but it was good to at least start from there. How relaxing this actually is will of course depend on your route. A good chunk of my walking commutes took me through a residential neighborhood early in the morning.

It also helps with rushing. If you're running a little behind, you can walk a bit faster. There's really nothing you can do to make traffic move faster. If you're running really late, you can fall back to taking the car. You can also take the car (or the bus if this applies) if the weather's bad.

Of course anything you do personally is only a drop in the bucket as far as CO2 emissions is concerned. This is a change people need to make on a large scale to really make a difference. But, by walking, even if you're not at all ostentatious about it, you'll be doing a little bit to make walking more socially acceptable.
posted by nangar at 9:15 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oops... "Youre 0.7 gallons/week" is what I meant. I originally did the stats using 20mpg (which is the average car). Then I realized your Elantra has better than average fuel economy. I fixed all the other numbers, though.
posted by cgg at 9:17 AM on April 26, 2010

Yes, it will be negligible in the grander scheme of things. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. If a million people kept their cars at home and walked to work for a year, it would make a big impact.

I walk to work every day about this distance and it's great. You will be helping the environment (in a small, but meaningful way), saving money, and benefiting your health. Do it!
posted by squawk at 9:19 AM on April 26, 2010

My company provides information on this exact topic to organizations. I spend all day fighting with these numbers!

According to my stats, your 2009 Elantra gets around 28 mpg.

It may be very useful for your work if you don't use highway stated numbers for fuel consumption for journeys under, say, 10 miles. Use the urban consumption figures for a more accurate reflection of fuel saved for short journeys, as it is extremely unlikely that any car will achieve it's highway average on a short journey (warm up, urban start and finish for most journeys of this length, etc).

10 miles may not be the cut off - the figure may be somewhere between 5 and 10 - but there's no way that the highway consumption figure is fully appropriate for a sub-10 mile journey.
posted by Brockles at 9:20 AM on April 26, 2010

Best answer: You asked about the difference you would make — if you desire great specificity, any calculations must take into account the energy expenditure in walking, plus the replacement of your footwear, potential additional showers, and so forth.
posted by adipocere at 9:26 AM on April 26, 2010

A bit off topic, but a couple of days ago I heard an interesting discussion along the lines of, "individual actions like recycling and composting and taking public transportation are good insomuch as they don't displace an individual's motivation to take actions that actually produce results, like lobbying congress." And that the problem is that in general people only have so much energy/enthusiasm to give to a good cause and when they work hard at taking public transportation and recycling, they feel so much better about themselves that they don't bother lobbying congress (which is what has turned out to really make a difference). Cited legislative efforts that have actually fixed environmental problems in a big way, like acid rain and lead in gas.

So walk/bike to work for your health and because it helps the environment a little bit, but if you care about the environment don't stop there.
posted by n'muakolo at 9:30 AM on April 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

It may be very useful for your work if you don't use highway stated numbers for fuel consumption for journeys under, say, 10 miles

True. I'm not going to go into my company's specific calculations; this was a back-of-a-napkin calculation, using EPA data. However, even the EPA has different numbers on mpg, depending on where you look. They give highway, city, combined mpg stats available in a csv download. But their web calculator (http://www.epa.gov/greenvehicles/Index.do) gives me different numbers. Either way, it's not an exact science, because getting a car's actual mpg depends on so many different variables, from tire pressure to driving habits, etc etc etc. But the differences are negligible in this instance.
posted by cgg at 9:35 AM on April 26, 2010

I encourage you to walk to work. Its benefits are many-fold. My life improved on a lot of different fronts once I started walking as my primary transport.

However: To those of you adding things along the lines of "of course 2% makes a difference" and the even more noise-injecting "what if everybody reduced by 2%??" ("...candy and nuts", and all that, for starters)... The poster's main question was:
...what I'm having trouble figuring out is, would it make any significant difference to the environment if I didn't drive my car to work?
The answer to that question is--in any reasonable way you'd like to interpret that from an emissions standpoint--an unequivocal "no".
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 9:36 AM on April 26, 2010

Now that you've seen all the suggestions for not driving, I'd suggest biking, if you feel comfortable and safe enough to do so. On average, people walk 3 miles per hour, or 20 minutes a mile. That's around 45 minutes to walk one way, or 1.5 hours per day. Or, depending on terrain and such, biking could be 10-15 minutes, one way.

If you have the time to walk, kudos. Enjoy it! But if you're pressed for time, biking is pretty handy. You may want to try the route out first, seeing how long it takes, and how sweaty you might get, to evaluate bringing a change of clothes and whatnot.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:36 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

I walked about 2.5 miles to work (and 2.5 miles back) four days a week for a long time. When I switched jobs and started driving I almost immediately gained ten pounds I still haven't been able to get off. It's definitely something to consider!
posted by kate blank at 9:46 AM on April 26, 2010

As a regular "walk to work" person, there are a couple of additional benefits that are somewhat hidden. If you walk five miles a day, you'll become a much better walker and choose walking for other destinations more often. Also, it's wonderful to "not" drive.
Another alternative is the bicycle. A decent city bike will get you to work in 15 minutes without breaking a sweat. You get the carbon benefit and a significantly shorter trip, though it's definitely more dangerous.
posted by Carmody'sPrize at 9:48 AM on April 26, 2010

One aspect that people haven't touched on is herd behavior -- when your coworkers walk down with you to the parking lot, and they get in your cars and you keep going, they think, hmm. Wonder if I could walk to work one day. My partner and have lived in LA without a car for the last year and a half, and even without any overt proselytizing or ideological pushing on our parts (we do it partially because we're cheap and in part because we work at home about half the time), we disprove the old saw that you can't get by in LA without a car. These are all small, incremental impacts, but they are progress towards the tipping point where people stop framing the question as 'why not drive to work,' and start asking 'why drive to work.'

Also, the more working people are on foot on the streets during rush hour, the more likely it is to seem safe to others who may be considering the journey. Also, I've found that places with more walkers tend to take sidewalk and roadside maintenance more seriously (have been to all too many suburbs in NJ where nobody walks and there are just mud ditches along the side of the road), as well as litter, etc.
posted by Valet at 9:50 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Walking is good. Biking is better! Were I you, I'd look less at the strict carbon footprint situation and focus on the benefits of human-powered transport to YOU.

About four years ago, my husband began commuting via bicycle to work. In his case, it's a substantial commute -- about 12.5 miles each way, 125 miles a week. Within a year after he'd started, he had lost 75 pounds and dropped his blood cholesterol by 100 points. He sleeps better and eats better, and is a profoundly happier person. In addition, his choice of a bicycle commute means that we only have to maintain one good car; we have a 10 year old sedan and a 20 year old truck, and while the truck is perfectly good for occasional trips, it would never withstand being a regular commuting vehicle. If he WAS driving the truck, well, at 17mpg, the sheer cost of gas would bankrupt us.

Obviously, the differences aren't going to be quite as profound with a 20 mile per week commute. But, neither is the effort! If you'd rather walk than bike, think of the time commitment as rolling in your daily workout; five miles of walking four times a week is GREAT for you.
posted by KathrynT at 9:50 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

In the everything is connected department, the obvious health benefits are also an environmental benefit. The healthier you are, the less health care you'll need, and every bit of that health care has its own carbon footprint. (Yes, yes, not noticeable on a global level. No individual is singly responsible for so much consumption that altering his or her actions is going to have a global effect. And, yet, somehow the trillions of decisions of billions of individuals do have an effect.)
posted by Zed at 9:56 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Nthing all those who say that you will multiply your impact by being an example to others. I recently moved solely in order to reduce my commute to a new job from 1 hour driving to a 20-minute walk plus a 30-minute train ride. Looking at my fellow commuters, both those who walk to the train and those who drive, I can easily see that we influence and learn from each other. I see people with folding bikes and think about that. People might see me walking a little over a mile in a pretty nice outfit and arriving looking decent, and think about how that's not so crazy. I gloat to people about how much time I get for reading (on the train) and listening to podcasts (while walking). I talk about the plants and flowers that were blooming that morning, the birds I saw on the way to work...all invisible in a car. The more people who make these choices, the more it normalizes the choices and makes more change in behavior possible.

2.5 miles is a longish walk - nice for a weekend jaunt but would take about an hour and a half-ish a day round trip, I'd guess. A bike does seem like a great idea for that distance. But walking is fine too if you have the time or want to spend it that way.
posted by Miko at 9:58 AM on April 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

The answer to that question is--in any reasonable way you'd like to interpret that from an emissions standpoint--an unequivocal "no".

I strongly disagree. Using 256's math to think about 798 lbs of CO2. Imagine that your environment was the size of, say, a Pizza Hut. Would you say 'unequivocally' that it did no damage to the Pizza Hut? Would other people in this unfortunate Pizza Hut agree? Absolutely not.

Admittedly, our entire environment is so so so so much larger than a Pizza Hut that that amount of damage is, as they say, a drop in the bucket. But it's the same amount of damage.
posted by dirtdirt at 10:03 AM on April 26, 2010

One aspect that people haven't touched on is herd behavior -- when your coworkers walk down with you to the parking lot, and they get in your cars and you keep going, they think, hmm. Wonder if I could walk to work one day.
Even if OP worked at an extremely large campus of, say, 10,000 daily commuters. Even if OP convinced every single one of them to walk, no matter the distance, the answer to:
...what I'm having trouble figuring out is, would it make any significant difference to the environment if I didn't drive my car to work?
...would still be an unequivocal "no." I'm sorry. This is math.

Walk to work for any of the five thousand good reasons that there are for walking to work. I know I feel very lucky to be able to do so, and I'm thankful for it. But do not do it because it will make "...any significant difference to the environment" because it just won't on anything close to any perceptible scale.

It's entirely ok to be chuffed with yourself for reducing your carbon footprint. This is a laudable and responsible goal, and you can be proud of yourself. But I'm sorry; as per your original question, the measure you suggest will not significantly help the environment. And without bringing in some kind of Jungian, hundredth-monkey voodoo, I don't think it can be seriously argued that it would. Let's not inject noise or self-puffery into what was originally a very simple question.

(I walk because I really enjoy the interaction it affords me with neighbors. The economic and health benefits are nice too. But, much as I really wish it would, it's not saving one goddamn thing, environmentally. Let's not flatter ourselves so easily.)
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 10:05 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

I am going to say something that a lot of people will probably say is wrong, and I realize that and I am not trying to start and argument, I just think that the conversation would not be complete without it.

If you walk 2.5 miles each way to and from work, it will add 1 - 3 hours to your workday, so instead of working 40 hours a week, you are now committed to work 45-55 hours a week. You have to wake up earlier, and you get home later. When I had a job, I constantly felt like I did not have enough time to do what I wanted to do after work if I also wanted to get enough sleep to be ready for the next day.

Secondly, do you want to arrive at work smelling like you just came from the gym? I can just imagine someone who bikes a mile to work saying to their boss, "Can you give me an extra hour, I am going to bike home, take a shower, and drive back."

Now, this is really hard to back up but it is hard to show exactly how "green" you are being by not driving to work. You will need to eat more if you exercise more, and wouldn't that cost CO2 to make that food and transport it to you? Would not driving offset that extra consumption? I don't trust anyone who dismisses this out of hand. Anyway, you could get the same environmental benefits by carpooling, or taking the bust.

So finally, I think that walking to work is a fine idea if you are doing it because you would like the exercise, and you understand the commitment.
posted by rebent at 10:10 AM on April 26, 2010

I strongly disagree. Using 256's math to think about 798 lbs of CO2. Imagine that your environment was the size of, say, a Pizza Hut [...] Admittedly, our entire environment is so so so so much larger than a Pizza Hut that that amount of damage is, as they say, a drop in the bucket. But it's the same amount of damage.
It's the same amount of damage spread out (admittedly quite unevenly, but close enough for approximation) over something 10-12 orders of magnitude larger. I'm not sure how Pizza Hut came into the picture, but I'm missing how this example could be used constructively. In geographic parlance, we call this a Modifiable Areal Unit Problem. You could just as easily say "if you threw all your trash on your living room floor, your apartment would get dirty really quickly."
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 10:20 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for all the input so far. I should have been a bit clearer in that I wasn't really asking, "SHOULD I walk to work because it's better for the environment?" so much as I was just curious about my own emissions contribution. I hear so many people discuss long commutes that I wondered what my own numbers were. I did appreciate the answers, though, that tried to take in the impact of walking in terms of other factors such as food, time, health, etc.

Maybe I'm a big wuss, but biking is absolutely out -- it would frighten the life out of me to be in the streets with those cars. (thus adding to the health care impact)
posted by JanetLand at 10:43 AM on April 26, 2010

You could just as easily say "if you threw all your trash on your living room floor, your apartment would get dirty really quickly."

Indeed, and you could say, "since the Pacific Ocean is very, very large, it will make no difference if you throw all your trash in there". You could even call it math.
posted by dirtdirt at 10:49 AM on April 26, 2010 [3 favorites]

I was just curious about my own emissions contribution...
From your car: profoundly--almost infinitesimally--insignificant. As in: as imponderably small an emission contribution as it even fathomable for a human to comprehend while still remaining non-zero. Much smaller, actually. Evanescent, even. Homeopathically-diluted, 24X-reduction-level-style insignificant.

Walk to work anyway.
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 10:57 AM on April 26, 2010

Mod note: comment removed - this sort of needs to end here, if you want to debate this endlessly, go to email or Meta, thanks
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:03 AM on April 26, 2010

Actual road test data is here. An automatic 4-speed Hyundai gets 36 mi/gal, and emmits about 10 kg of CO2. That's real, measured CO2 out of the back of a real car doing a drive around a real city1. There are two other Elantras in the database and they get almost identical numbers2.

Assuming return trips 4 times a week, you use about 28 gallons of fuel driving to work and back. Based on the tailpipe measurements, your car produces about 300 kg of CO2/year.

1. Mostly. Some would argue that Ottawa just isn't like other places, but that's neither here nor there.

2. Manual or automatic, both the same. Cars are fairly new, with less than 10,000 km on them. Done usually in warmish to nice weather, from a cold start. Driven by a real sweetheart of a man, I might add.
posted by bonehead at 11:12 AM on April 26, 2010


OP: Lot of good viewpoints in this thread. I hope you do take up the walk to work. Start slowly, build up, wear comfortable shoes. It's a good time of year to start something like this. Give it a month, and I'll lay good odds that you'll be hooked.
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 11:13 AM on April 26, 2010

(28 gal/year) sorry.
posted by bonehead at 11:13 AM on April 26, 2010

Riding a bike is less dangerous than you think. But if you aren't comfortable, you aren't going to enjoy it. You have to plan your route differently than driving and even walking, you may be surprised how far you can go avoiding big busy streets.

Another suggestion is waling one way and taking the bus the other. I used to walk 45 min to work because I'm too cranky for the bus in the morning and then bus home because I was too lazy to walk.
posted by Gor-ella at 12:01 PM on April 26, 2010

err - walking. I'm not sure how long it would take to wale to work.
posted by Gor-ella at 12:06 PM on April 26, 2010

I used to live about a mile from college, and I'd walk at least a mile each day (I could catch the bus, but it wasn't always convenient). It was easy, and I was fit.

When I graduated and got a job, I wasn't working full-time at first, so I would walk home (~3.7 miles), and it took me around an hour, walking with a quick pace. Now I work full-time, and I ride the bus both ways, and it takes ~30 minutes each way. Either way, I really, really like not driving, even though I can get to work and park in ~15 minutes. My wife and I have a Prius which she drives (she carpools, driving ~1 hour each way), and an old van for hauling the odd load or our kayaks. She sold her car a few years ago, and it's been lovely.

If you have never taken some other route to work than driving, I suggest you try it. I really enjoy it, though I am lucky enough have a relatively convenient bus route. I don't bike, because I'm not confident in my own skills, so I understand your disinclination to biking to work. Plus, if you get sweaty on the ride, it may not be the most pleasant way to start the day.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:25 PM on April 26, 2010

Driving uses gas, oil, and causes roads to be built. Every mile you don't drive matters. It was just Earth Day, and lots of people commented on ow they were conserving water, here in Maine, where water is plentiful and clean. Conserving water here is fine, but has low impact. Conserving driving makes a much bigger difference. Like voting, if everyone makes a change, it matters a lot. Lead the way.
posted by theora55 at 8:07 PM on April 26, 2010

In fact, it matters much more than your decision to vote. Your vote in a presidential race will have exactly zero effect on its own -- I guarantee you. If I had voted for a different presidential candidate or not voted, there wouldn't have been any difference in who is occupying the White House, and this was foreseeable with 100% certainty. But when I walked to work today, I knew I was having some effect, however slight.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:20 PM on April 26, 2010

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