Cars and vans accounted for nearly 50 percent of global transport carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2022, according to an analysis by Statista based on International Energy Agency (IEA) data.
Car and van emissions were over four times greater than international shipping (10 percent) and even air travel (11 percent).
Meanwhile, medium and heavy freight vehicles made up roughly a quarter of transportation emissions last year. Altogether, the transportation sector is producing over 7 billion metric tons of CO2 per year.
According to the Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research, the transportation sector came in second place worldwide behind only the power industry in 2022. The top five biggest contributors to CO2 emissions that year were: the power industry (38.1 percent), transportation (20.7 percent), industrial combustion (17 percent), buildings (8.9 percent), and industrial processes (8.4 percent).
September 22 was World Car Free Day, and is celebrated to encourage drivers in various cities around the world to take other means of transport for the day, other than their cars.
South Koreans reported the highest usage levels of public transport among the surveyed commuters at 41 percent, followed by Poland at 39 percent and Austria at 34 percent. The United States was at the other end of the spectrum, with only 13 percent of respondents saying the same.
It is estimated that replacing car journeys with public transport can help reduce CO2 emissions by 42 percent if using the bus and 73 percent if traveling by train.
Around 60 percent of commuters said they used their cars as their primary way to commute. The U.S. was even higher, with 73 percent of respondents saying they used a car to commute. In Japan, the gap was far narrower, with 41 percent saying they used a car versus 30 percent who used public transport.
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