Chartering a Bus Vs. Driving – What is the Eco-Friendly Option?

chartering a bus vs driving

It’s no surprise to find out that a hybrid car gets more miles per gallon than a coach bus, but what does catch many people off guard is that it is not cheaper or more eco-friendly to take a hybrid car on a long-distance trip.

In the transport industry, efficiency is measured by passenger miles per gallon. This swings the scales because each coach bus you see on the road is capable of displacing more than 50 cars. On average, a car in 2014 was only occupied by 1.22 people. The number of people per car peaked back in 1991 at 1.32 people. These numbers pale in comparison to the carrying capacity of a charter bus, some of which can seat up to 80 people and are often selected based on the seat requirements of your group.

By comparing charter buses to other forms of transportation by passenger miles per gallon, it turns out that they are twice as efficient as trains, four times as efficient as a plane, and seven times more efficient than climbing into your own car. Standard charter buses are capable of providing 200 passenger miles on a single gallon of fuel.

Advancements in Fuel

If you’re especially keen on limiting your carbon footprint on your next road trip, going the extra mile to charter an eco-friendly bus is worth the effort.

Many sectors of the transportation industry are scrambling to find ways to reduce their carbon footprint as consumers demand more eco-friendly vehicles. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), transportation was the second largest contributor of US greenhouse gas emissions in 2015, as it accounted for about 27 percent of total emissions. The only larger contributor was the electricity sector.

One of the many suggestions the EPA offers for reducing US greenhouse emissions is by having more people use public buses that are fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG).

There are companies out there, such as MCI Coach, that sell clean-diesel, hybrid, and CNG coaches. MCI actually lays claim to producing the first hybrid-electric commuter coach and has since revealed a new generation of the vehicle. Though you’re probably not in the market to go buy a bus, you can still request such a vehicle the next time you charter a bus.

As the value of “going green” increases in the marketplace, in addition to the development of increased savings through more efficient fuels and vehicles, the charter bus world will, without a doubt, continue to respond by increasing the number of eco-friendly vehicles in their fleet.

Breaking it Down, Dollar for Dollar

Mother Nature saves when you take an eco-friendly option, but do you? The simple answer is yes—and so do your great, great grandchildren. Though it might seem unfair to do a cost-benefit analysis of a hybrid car, which can get upwards of 63 mpg to a charter bus, such as the motor coach industries’ best-selling J4500, which gets 5 to 9 mpg, let’s do it anyway. If you crunch the numbers, the scale isn’t even close to being balanced—and may, in fact, be swinging a different direction than you thought.

Using the above numbers, you’ll need 1.58 gallons to travel 100 miles in a hybrid car and 15.40 gallons to cover the same distance in the J4500. However, rounding the average passengers in a car down from 1.22 to one—for the sake of easy math—and estimating the number on the coach at 57, the per-passenger fuel consumption to travel 100 miles ends up being 1.58mpg in the hybrid and only .27mpg on the bus.

Things are looking good, but what about the savings, you ask?

Using the previous numbers and an estimated fuel price of four dollars a gallon, the per-passenger cost to go 100 miles is $6.32 per person in the hybrid and $1.08 on the bus. That means even that if you uncomfortably cram five people into a tiny hybrid, it’s still going to be slightly cheaper to go coach.

This cost-benefit analysis doesn’t even include savings from decreased highway congestion, which costs the taxpayers an estimated $72 billion in wasted resources and lost productivity every year.

Take Inspiration From The Stars

Being eco-conscious of your transportation isn’t only something that concerns people piling on charter buses to reduce the costs of car transportation. Big name American stars, such as Drake and Willie Nelson, are also doing what they can to reduce their carbon footprint when they are on tour.

It is well known that Drake is an exceptionally environmentally-friendly artist. However, it is less known that his tour bus goes beyond CNG by running on biodiesel, which is diesel fuel derived from non-mineral feedstocks.

“I’m able to utilize a certain amount of momentum, a certain amount of shine and project it onto these individuals who are doing such great things… It’s a tour with a message, it adds something to the energy of the tour,” Drake said, as he explained is eco-friendly tour message to EcoSalon.

Willie Nelson is also rolling on biodiesel during his tours in a bus named BioWillie. The country music star, in fact, started a company called Willie Nelson Biodiesel, which produces biodiesel.

Charter Bus vs Car: What’s More Eco-Friendly?

Through charter services, such as BusBank, it’s possible to quickly and efficiently establish what eco-friendly bus options are available for your next road trip, school holiday, music festival, or corporate event.

When you decide to take the steps toward decreasing your carbon footprint, transportation is clearly a strong first step, as it does account for such a large percentage of US greenhouse gas emissions (according to the EPA).

By taking a charter bus instead of a plane or even a car, you are already significantly reducing your negative impact on the environment. However, by requesting a charter bus that runs on clean-diesel, hybrid, or CNG, you are able to make an even larger impact. Furthermore, you save your own money and reduce congestion and noise pollution on America’s roads.

The power is yours. So, be like Drake and Willie Nelson, make the environment a priority when you travel.

Catch us on Twitter with your ideas on how to support eco-friendly transportation options by tweeting at @busbank.

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