Heading for Los Angeles? Should you take a plane or car?
Time: 6 hours
Greenhouse gas emissions: 169 pounds of CO2e
Chance of a fatal accident: 1 in 300,000
Time: 3.5 hours
Greenhouse gas emissions: 181 pounds of CO2e
Chance of a fatal accident: 1 in 8,000,000
Assuming plans stay on track, in 2018 a high-speed train will race between San Francisco and Los Angeles in three hours for two-thirds the price of a plane ticket. Until then, is it smarter to fly or to drive? We compared car and jetliner travel time, cost, greenhouse gas emissions, and risk of death from a crash. The flying time includes travel to and from the airport and average waiting time, and driving cost and emissions assume a driver and a passenger in the car. For more detail on how we got our numbers, see below.
Photography by Pdphoto.org
This article was first published in March 2010. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.