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British Columbians willing to fly less to reduce carbon footprint

Hugh Keenleyside dam near Castlegar

A BC Hydro survey1 finds when planning a vacation, one-third of British Columbians are open to taking a road trip over a flight to reduce their carbon footprint.

As a worldwide “fly less” movement continues to grow, a survey conducted for BC Hydro found 75 per cent of British Columbians are concerned with the impact air travel can have on the environment. Of those surveyed, one-third said they would take a road trip for their next vacation rather than a vacation that requires a flight to reduce their carbon footprint.

When it comes to the environmental impact of air travel, data2 shows two passengers on a return flight from Vancouver to Kelowna are responsible for approximately 400 kilograms (kg) of carbon dioxide emissions (CO2e) – around the same as 170 litres of gasoline3. The emissions associated with two passengers on other popular return short-haul flights from Vancouver include:

·         Vancouver to Seattle: 260 kg of CO2e

·         Vancouver  to Kamloops: 360 kg of CO2e

·         Vancouver to Cranbrook: 440 kg of CO2e

Driving one of these routes in an electric vehicle greatly reduces the environmental impact of travel by reducing the carbon dioxide emissions associated with the drive to nearly zero. In B.C., 98 per cent of the electricity BC Hydro generates is from clean, renewable sources.

A recent report from BC Hydro entitled Electric highway: Road trip range anxiety is pumping the brakes on EV adoption in B.C.’looked at popular road trips in B.C. and found British Columbians can make those trips in an electric vehicle because they are supported by BC Hydro’s EV fast-charging network. And with more charging infrastructure being added across the province, new routes to more areas of the province will be possible in the coming years.

In addition to expanding its electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the province, BC Hydro is supporting the electrification of the travel industry to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This includes the Shore Power initiative with the Port of Vancouver, which allows cruise ships to plug-in to its grid instead of running on diesel engines.

1 Online survey conducted by Angus Reid on behalf of BC Hydro of 800 British Columbians from June 1 to 5, 2019.

2 C02 emissions calculated using www.carbonzero.ca/calculate.

3 Calculated based on one litre of gas containing around 0.63 kg of carbon and about 2.3 kg of CO2 (3.67 × 0.63 kg = 2.3 kg) according to Natural Resources Canada.