While most people have been encouraged to use public transportation in order to reduce their carbon footprint and help reduce CO2 emissions, a new US study suggests that this may not be as helpful as the general public believes.

heavy commuter trainAccording to the study, oftentimes, as the weight load of a public transportation vehicle increases it begins to emit more CO2 emissions that are worse for the environment than those that would be emitted if you chose to drive instead.

In fact, University of California at Davis environmental engineers Arpad Horvath and Mikhail Chester, said that when you add up the costs of hidden or displaced emissions from an increased amount of people via a mode of transportation, or too few people who take advantage of the resource, the amount of fossil fuels emitted may make it more toxic to climate change and the ozone layer.

Chester told the AFP that people need to consider what mode of transportation they are choosing instead of driving before deciding which is the better choice for the environment as it may be more harmful to take a heavy commuter train into the city instead of an SUV, which is widely thought to have high CO2 emissions due to the fact the train is even worse.

Another problem is the type of fossil fuels that are used, taking the Boston subway system which has high energy efficiency but 82% of the energy it needs to operate is from dirty fossil fuels.

Thus, before hoping onto public transportation for ‘green’ reasons commuters should consider the type of fuel the transportation utilizes and its usual occupancy before deciding if it really is a helpful move.

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