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Is Bus Travel Better for the Environment?

Man holding tiny globe in front of mountain landscape.

Bus travel has always provided passengers with a safe, cost-effective, and reliable way to get around. But did you know that buses produce less carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions than other popular modes of transportation? This includes planes, cars, and even trains. 

In fact, buses not only produce less emissions, but they use less fuel per passenger, too.

Why are buses the environmentally friendly way to travel?

In a study conducted by the American Bus Association, highway motor-coach operations were analyzed using three important variables:

  1. Use of energy 
  2. Use of (CO2) emissions 
  3. Number of passengers per vehicle

For the analysis, motor-coach operations represented buses that were used for private charters, tours, scheduled intercity service, airport, and commuter services.

Once data was collected it was then compared to other common transportation vehicles, using the same three variables. 

These vehicles included, but were not limited to:

  • Private automobile
  • Van pool
  • Domestic air travel 
  • Heavy urban rail
  • Light urban rail
  • Trolley

The Results

The findings revealed that, on average, motor-coaches use the least amount of energy and produce the lowest CO2 emissions per passenger mile of any transportation modes that were analyzed in the study. 

To learn more about this study, check out the ABA’s report on the “Comparison of energy use and emissions from different modes.”

Bus vs. Train: Which is Better for the Environment?

Of the many modes of travel, bus and train transportation take the lead in producing less energy and fuel per passenger. However, you might be asking which one is the better option when you’re trying to practice sustainability?Before you can answer that, you first need to understand that the environmental impact of a certain mode of transportation, like a bus, is measured by the number of passenger miles it gets per gallon of fuel (also referred to as Miles Per Gallon).

According to findings on, motor-coaches provide 207 passenger MPG and create approximately 0.17 lbs of CO2 emissions per passenger mile traveled. In comparison, trains provide 92 MPG, creating 0.41 lbs of CO2 emissions per passenger mile. This helps demonstrate that although trains are more eco-friendly than cars and planes, buses offer travelers a greener solution.

Looking for Environmentally Friendly Transport?

Whether you’re traveling for business or a family event, it’s clear that bus travel is the greener way to go! 

For more resources on bus CO2 emissions, visit the ABA’s website and other online travel publications to learn more. 

If you’d like to start practicing eco-friendly travel now, you can plan a trip with Jefferson Lines. We offer convenient, affordable, and safe transportation to many exciting cities across the Midwest.

 Book your trip today!