A study released on Earth Day by the American Public Transportation Association revealed that, as of January 1, 2011, more than 35% of U.S. public transit buses use alternative fuels or hybrid technology. This is a striking contrast to the 1.3% of private automobiles that used alternative fuels in 2010, according to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Annual Outlook.
“Public transportation is leading the way with environmentally efficient vehicles,” said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy. “The public transit vehicle fleet is the proving ground for environmental technology that may someday become a part of the nation’s automobile fleet.”

The APTA statistics reveal that the majority of U.S. transit buses use compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG), and blends, but also utilize significant percentages of hybrid and biodiesel vehicles. The exact percentages are shown below.


Shown above are the percentages of U.S. public transit buses, which utilize CNG, LNG, or blends; hybrid technology; or biodiesel. APTA compiled this data. Credit: NAFTC.

“Today’s modern public transit bus is increasingly either a hybrid or is powered by fuels that are good for the environment,” said APTA Chair Flora Castillo. “The public transportation industry is a green industry and is committed to improving the environment.”
From operating environmentally-friendly bus and rail vehicles, building LEEDS certified facilities, using solar bus shelters, and recycling bus wash water, the U.S. public transportation industry—both public and private sectors –uses green technologies to further reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality.


18.2% of all public transit buses run on natural gas, such as the one pictured above. Credit: NAFTC.

APTA noted that U.S. public transportation use prevents 37 million metric tons of carbon emissions from being released into the atmosphere every year from private vehicle use. Additionally, since public transit use in the United States saves 4.7 billion gallons of gasoline annually, public transit riders are doing their part to help our nation be energy independent, according to APTA.
If you’re interested in switching to public transportation, you can calculate your potential carbon savings online at www.publictransportation.org with APTA’s Carbon Savings Calculator.

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