For the second part of this series, we’re going to delve into transportation as a producer of carbon emissions. We’ll consider some of the Bay Area’s greatest contributors and what you can do as a local (and student) to decrease your carbon footprint.
Let’s take a look at the numbers first. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said that in 2020, transportation contributed to 27% of national greenhouse gas emissions — making it the largest sector on the chart.
Although transportation such as cars, trucks and other vehicles won’t disappear anytime soon, that doesn’t mean advances can’t be made to decrease emissions in this area. Here’s one thing I’d suggest: drive smarter.
Ok, let me explain this one. The best way to decrease transportation emissions is to use primarily clean modes of transportation. What’s the cleanest way to get around? Walking!
College students who are able to can take a nice stroll to class rather than relying on an Uber. Your bank account will thank you, as well as your health and well-being. It’s actually recommended to take breaks between work periods, especially through simple ways of exercising such as this. Not only are these benefits present, but your carbon emissions won’t be.
There are a lot of perks in transportation, however, especially with cars. If you need to commute to your workplace, school or any destination, a car of your own is reliable. However, consider investing in cleaner sources of fuel if you have a car. Electric cars are a great option, especially if you’re sharing it with a household. Splitting costs with roommates would be optimal for many reasons, too. A local fuel station has created an interesting option, though.
BioFuel Oasis is an urban-based farm store and biodiesel station located in Berkeley. The remarkable thing about this gas station is that it sells its own biofuel made of 20% biodiesel and 80% renewable diesel. Its website explains that biodiesel is “oil that has been modified in a chemical process called transesterification in which the glycerine is removed from the oil. The resulting product is thinner than vegetable oil and can power a diesel engine as a fuel with “NO modifications or conversion needed.” That’s pretty cool, right? What’s even cooler is that this renewable diesel is made with recycled vegetable oil collected from local businesses and donations.
There’s another big way you can reduce your carbon footprint — especially in the Bay Area — and that’s by using public transportation. On an average weekday, BART carries more than 100,000 passengers a day, according to its ridership reports. It’s often even cheaper than buying your own car. UC Berkeley students receive a Clipper card, which can be used on all public transit during their time at college. AC Transit is also working toward a goal of 100% zero emissions, starting with its rollout of a fleet mix of “70% hydrogen fuel cell electric buses and 30% battery electric buses,” according to its website.
This summer, why not make some changes in how you get around? Try taking BART to visit San Francisco, or walk to your next class or meeting. You can even carpool with friends! The possibilities can really be endless — it’s just up to you.