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Environment over convenience: Survey says many in B.C. would rather drive than fly to reduce carbon footprint

Last Updated Jun 28, 2019 at 8:29 am PDT

Female hand on steering wheel. (iStock Photo)

Many British Columbians are concerned about the impact flying can have on the environment, BC Hydro has found

A new survey suggests about a third of British Columbians would rather drive than fly to reduce their carbon footprint

BC Hydro notes a number of people are actually driving and buying electric vehicles

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Ninety minutes in the air, or eight hours in the car? It turns out many British Columbians are more comfortable taking a classic road trip over booking a plane ticket for their next vacation, and the environment is the reason why.

BC Hydro says 75 per cent of people in B.C. are concerned with the impact that air travel can have on the environment. Survey results have also found about a third of British Columbians would rather load up the car over waiting at the airport, all in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint.

“This is a conversation that’s emerging, it’s a relatively new conversation, but it’s an important one,” Geoff Hastings with BC Hydro explains.

He says it was a surprise to the utility that so many people would be open to taking a road trip over flying to their destination to do their part for the environment.

“B.C. is a large province, it takes a long time to drive across,” he says. “But a lot of people, a really significant number of people, are open to the idea of driving instead of flying in order to reduce their carbon footprint.”

When it comes to the car trips, Hastings says many of them are much more “electric” than they used to be.

A lot of the buzz around electric vehicles in the province, he adds, isn’t just interest. Hastings notes a number of people are actually driving and buying these low emission vehicles.

“The last couple of months we’ve seen a record for electric vehicles in the province with increased rebates as well as increased gas prices making people stop and consider how they’re getting around,” he tells NEWS 1130.

BC Hydro, he notes, is also improving its electric vehicle charging infrastructure province-wide.

“You can now drive from Tofino to the Alberta border hitting fast-charging stations all the way, so the options of driving an electric vehicle are quite good right now.”

So how much of an impact on the environment does flying versus driving to your destination have?

According to the utility, two people on a return flight to Vancouver from Kelowna are responsible for 400 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions. That’s the same as using 170 litres of gas.

Meantime, the emissions associated with two passengers on a flight from Vancouver to Seattle are about 260 kilograms of CO2e.