British Columbia

British Columbians would fly less to reduce carbon emissions, BC Hydro says

B.C. drivers are willing to take to the open road over open skies if it means reducing their carbon footprint, a new survey from BC Hydro suggests.

Survey suggests one third of B.C. drivers are open to road trips over airplanes to reduce carbon footprint

The majority of B.C. drivers would prefer road trips over air travel if it means they can reduce their carbon emissions, a B.C. Hydro report suggests. (iStock/Getty Images)

B.C. drivers are willing to take to the open road over open skies if it means reducing their carbon footprint, a new survey from BC Hydro suggests.

The report says 75 per cent of British Columbians have concerns over the impact of air travel on the environment.

Of 800 people surveyed, one third said they would prefer a road trip over a flight for their next vacation in hopes of reducing carbon emissions. Air travel tends to emit more than vehicle emissions per passenger, depending on the trip.

For example, two passengers on a return flight from Vancouver to Kelowna are responsible for about 400 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions — about the same as burning 170 litres of gasoline.

"So, for an average car like a Honda Civic, that's about four tanks of gas," said Geoff Hastings, a spokesperson for B.C. Hydro. "The more we look around our society, our industry, the more we realize what we're consuming."

Emissions associated with other popular short haul flights include:

  • Vancouver to Seattle: 260 kilograms of CO2e.
  • Vancouver to Kamloops: 360 kilograms of CO2e.
  • Vancouver to Cranbrook: 440 kiloggrams of CO2e.
A power cable is attached to an electric vehicle from an electric-vehicle charging station in this photo. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

B.C. Hydro is actively encouraging drivers to switch over to electric cars to further bring down emissions. However its surveys also suggest many B.C. drivers have anxiety over how far electric vehicles can drive.

Up to 70 per cent of drivers are hesitant to buy an electric car because they fear it won't be useful for long road trips.

Hastings says much of the range anxiety is misguided.

A B.C. Hydro report suggests the bulk of road trips British Columbians take are less than 300 kilometres — a distance that falls well within the range the latest EVs can travel on a single charge.

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