A 2-minute drive is the same as leaving a light on for 4 days

A 2-minute drive is the same as leaving a light on for 4 days

Working out the CO2 footprint of a car

The average car trip in the US is less than a mile. (energy.gov)

Driving at 30mph, a mile takes 2 minutes.

According to EPA, the average car in the US does 25 miles to the gallon.

According to Blocicarbon Vehicle Carbon Calculator. for a 25mpg car, driving a mile produces 0.40kgCO2e.

Working out the C02 footprint of a lightbulb

Natural gas is the most common power station source in the US and UK.

For a natural gas plant, 1KWh of electricity produces 487g of CO2.

LED lights are the most commonly bought lightbulbs in US and UK. (Incandescent bulbs, which use 6 times more energy, have been banned in both countries.)

A 9w LED bulb consumes 0.00875 Kwh per hour.

0.00875*0.487 (from the 487g above) = 0.004

So if the electricity comes from gas, an LED (9 Watts) bulb produces 0.004kg CO2 per hour.

Comparing the two results:

0.004kg x 100 = 0.40kg (the same as the footprint of the car)

= 100 hours

So driving for 2 minutes, on average, is about the equivalent of leaving an LED light on for 100 hours (over 4 days).

Bonus fact:

A 2-minute drive is also the equivalent of about 50 mobile phone charges.

If you drove for 2 hours and 28 minutes more, you would use the equivalent energy that a human eats in a lifetime.



medium.com – Yes, switching your light bulbs matters to solve climate change

Blocicarbon Vehicle Carbon Calculator

energy.gov – More than Half of all Daily Trips Were Less than Three Miles in 2021