UK Cars Improving on GHG Emissions

Data provided to the private sector by the United Kingdom government provides an indication of estimated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per passenger kilometer of various transport modes.

Public transport is far more efficient in the United Kingdom than in the United States. As a result, the GHGs per passenger kilometer are substantially less. For example, US Metros (subways) emit 81 grams per passenger mile, 50 percent above the 53 figure in the United Kingdom. Light rail in the United Kingdom emits 65 grams per passenger kilometer, compared to 119 in the United States.

Despite the more efficient public transport operations in the UK, cars are becoming surprisingly competitive. Small hybrid cars produce less GHG than buses. The new hybrid-diesel cars will nearly equal the GHG efficiency of Metros. The European Union has established a 2012 goal for car emissions that would make them more GHG efficient than buses much more competitive with light rail.

An earlier posting reported that non-transportation emissions, from stations and maintenance are reported to add approximately 40 percent to public transport energy consumption, while 22 percent was added to cars.

Data and Notes