Thursday, June 16 marks the sixth annual “National Dump the Pump Day.” A collaboration between the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council, Dump the Pump Day encourages commuters to hang up their car keys and give public transportation a try.
The APTA’s president, William Millar, explained, “Using public transportation is the quickest way to beat high gas prices – if it is available in your community. Additionally, riding public transportation on National Dump the Pump Day helps the environment and reduces our country’s dependence on oil.”
Millar’s caveat illustrates the problem with public transportation in the United States. For a large number of commuters, public transportation is either unavailable or inconvenient, thanks to limited routes and difficult connections. Still, proponents of public transportation point out that even the current system saves more than 37 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year, which is equivalent to the amount generated to power every residence in Washington, D.C., New York City, Atlanta, Denver and Los Angeles.
If you have a 20-mile round trip commute and can take advantage of public transportation, you can reduce your yearly carbon emissions by 2.4 tons, in addition to giving yourself time to catch up on reading or correspondence. You'll save money, too, even if gas is now coming down from this year's near-record highs.
Public transportation systems from coast to coast will be participating in Dump the Pump Day, and some are offering free rides while others are hosting contests to promote the event. If public transportation is a viable option for you, why not give it a try?
If it’s not and you’re a motorcycle rider, remember that next Monday is Ride To Work Day, and that motorcycle commuting is also a great way to cut your carbon footprint while enjoying your daily commute.