Different transport modes compared on price and ecological impact
Brussels-Nice by plane, train, coach or car: which one pollutes the least and what is the cheapest means of transportation? The Belgian company CO2logic-Greentripper, a pioneer in environmental calculations, reduction and compensation of CO2 gives the answers.
In the comparison, only CO2 emissions are taken into account. Kerosene and gasoline also generate other pollutants, such as fine particles. As for electricity, it raises the question of nuclear waste management, as most of the journey is made in France where electricity for trains is mainly produced by nuclear power plants. The car that is being used for the comparison consumes 7 litres of petrol per 100 km.
The car pollutes more unless you share it
According to the results, the car is the most polluting means of transport between Brussels and Nice, with a 472 kg of CO2 equivalent emitted per passenger, if the driver is alone in his vehicle. The aircraft follows very closely with 404 kg of CO2 equivalent emitted per passenger. Each coach passenger represents 86 kg, while the train is by far the most environmentally friendly way of travelling with 10 kg CO2 per passenger.
“The emission of the train is very low because most of the journey is made on French territory”, explains Anne Robertz, director of Greentripper. “In France, the electricity used for trains is mainly produced by nuclear power plants, which emit little CO2. If we had made the same journey in another country, the train would remain more ecological but the difference would have been less significant.”
Car and bus are similar
The ecological impact of a car decreases drastically when a driver shares his vehicle with other passengers. A ‘couple’ traveling from Brussels to Nice in the same car will cut their CO2 emissions in half. A car with four passengers has an ecological impact of 118 kg per passenger, which is similar to the emission of a bus journey.
Green solution is most expensive one
The car is also the cheapest means of transport, because the return trip costs 340 euro, which can be be divided by four passengers. However, 340 euro only covers fuel and toll costs. Experts estimate the TCO (total cos of ownership), including depreciation, maintenance, taxes and insurance of a car at 0,35 euro/km.
Passengers of a coach pay 100 to 150 euro for a return ticket, which remains the cheapest, followed by the plane (137 euro). The train is the least polluting but also the most expensive solution, at a cost of 220 euro.