Laura Risk

Roughly speaking, flying is about as bad for the climate as driving solo. Getting a plane off the ground and through the air requires so much jet fuel that the carbon emissions per person are similar to driving the same distance alone.

Lots of factors influence this calculation. Is it a long flight (more efficient than short-haul)? Is there a layover (less efficient — planes need extra fuel to take off and land)? But when you are trying to decide whether to drive or fly, there are really just two key questions:

  • What kind of car?

  • How many people in the car?

If you are planning on driving a gas guzzler to a solo gig, you might be better off flying. But if you have a hybrid or, better yet, an electric car, driving would be the more sustainable choice. And if you are traveling as a band, driving is better. More people in the car means lower per-person emissions.

It’s even better to take the train or bus, although you still won’t be traveling carbon-free unless the train is running on renewable electricity (as is the case in many European countries).

In either case, you can reduce your impact by offsetting your emissions.

Of course, best would be not to fly or drive at all. But how often does a local gig pay as much as an “away” gig?

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