Skip to main content
King County logo

How do commute trips cause greenhouse gas emissions?

In Washington, transportation accounts for nearly 45% of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. Between 1990 and 2003, GHG emissions from passenger vehicles increased by 19 percent; an increase caused both by increased sales of light-duty vehicles (SUVs, minivans, etc.) and the increase in the number of miles Americans travel every year. (source:  Environmental Protection Agency).

Encouraging your employees' to reduce their drive-alone commute trips is an easy and critical way to reduce your company's carbon footprint.

Tools and resources:   

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification is the recognized standard for measuring building sustainability.  Your commute program can help you achieve certification. 

King County's 10 Steps to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint brochure. 

The City of Seattle Climate Action website has many good resources including a Quick Start Guide, a resource guide for employers wanting to curb emissions and a carbon footprint calculator.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  has tools and resources to calculate greenhouse gas emissions, strategies at home and work, strategies for transportation, and information on the science of climate change.


Illustrating the link between commute choice and Climate Change:

  1. Distribute the Environmental Protections Agency's (EPA) Personal Emissions Calculator and encourage co-workers to complete the assessment.
  2. Educate employees!  Let them know they save roughly 1 pound of carbon dioxide for each mile of driving they eliminate. 
  3. Download and distribute King County's - 10 Steps to Reducing Your Carbon Footprint (827KB PDF) to employees.
  4. Express the results of a commuting promotion in GHG emissions reduction. Use these simple calculations (from the EPA) to described miles reduced in meaningful ways:
  • Carbon Dioxide: Miles x 0.813
  • Hydrocarbon: Miles x 0.00299
  • Carbon Monoxide: Miles x 0.0273
  • Gas Saved: Miles x 0.0417