Nothing would protect the environment and reduce our dependence on oil more than reducing our transportation footprint. Transportation accounts for more than 30 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. In big cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver, and Washington, D.C., car pollution causes the grey smog that leads to hotter summers and those horrible red, orange and even purple air-quality days that cause asthma in children and other health problems in adults.
According to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), public transportation in the United States saves approximately 1.4 billion gallons of gasoline and about 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide annually. Yet only 14 million Americans use public transportation daily, while 88 percent of all trips in the United States are made by car—and many of those cars carry only one person.
Here’s how commuting wisely could make a difference for your family:
Energy Independence. If just one in 10 Americans used public transportation daily, U.S. reliance on foreign oil would decrease 40 percent.
Safety. Riding a bus is 79 times safer than riding in an automobile, and riding a train or subway is even safer.
Health. Studies have shown that people who use public transportation regularly tend to be healthier than people who don’t, because of the exercise they get walking to and from bus stops, subway stations and their homes and offices.
Cost savings. According to an APTA study, families that use public transportation can reduce their household expenses by $6,200 annually, more than the average U.S. household spends on food every year. If you can bike or walk, you’ll save even more.
While living close enough to walk or bike to work is the healthiest, cheapest and most eco-friendly option, public transportation and carpooling are very good choices too. But perhaps the best reason to leave the car at home is that you can sit back, read the paper and avoid the stress and headache of dealing with rush-hour traffic!
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