by car, bus or plane to Spain?

What is the cheapest and most sustainable way to travel to Spain? If you often go that way to work or because you have another home, it is of course nice to know. Is a vacation by plane really that much worse than going by car? And what about the bus or the train? The glossy Spanish magazine SPAIN! looked at the numbers. The result is surprising because flying sometimes even turns out to be more sustainable than taking the car.

Connect Lean and Green carried out a comprehensive study of emissions from various means of transport. The study also produced a list of calculated CO2 emissions for a range of transport modes. The numbers are exact approximations, but are also based on some assumptions. After all, nobody has an average fuel-efficient gasoline car or takes a plane with an exact average occupancy rate. The Seedlings site loved this article However, also take the margins into account.

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The editors of ESPANIA! has translated his calculations to the Spanish situation. In general, the shorter the distance, the worse the flight. But if you have to choose between flying on your own or by car to Málaga from Groningen, the plane wins in most cases (but not if it’s half full of course). In all cases, the bus seems to be the most sustainable solution. In addition, the bus is usually also the cheapest solution that you HERE can read.

Issue per person/km: Airplane

Relatively more fuel is used for short trips than for long trips due to the high fuel consumption during take-off and landing. As a result, emissions for flights shorter than 700 kilometers are around 270 grams of CO2 equivalents per person per kilometer, while emissions for flights longer than 2500 kilometers are 135 grams of CO2 equivalents per person per kilometer. For the distances between, the emission is 200 grams of CO2 equivalent. If you fly with a small plane, the emissions per person will increase considerably. The load factor, the efficiency of the aircraft, the weather conditions and the weight of the cargo also play a role.

Emissions per person/km: Car

With cars, there are a number of variables that have a major influence on the emissions per vehicle. person per kilometer. For example, a petrol car emits 215 grams of CO2 equivalent per kilometer, a diesel car emits 205 grams of CO2 equivalent per kilometer and a car running on LPG emits 175 grams of CO2 equivalent per kilometer. A mid-range hybrid emits 125 grams of CO2 equivalents per kilometer. But even more than the type of car, the number of passengers has an influence. When you drive with another passenger, emissions are halved per person immediately. An economical driving style can also reduce emissions by up to 20%. On the other hand, older cars are more polluting. A caravan, bike rack or roof box naturally also results in more emissions.

Bus hits train

If you travel by bus, you only produce 45 grams of CO2 equivalent per kilometer. This is primarily because these buses are often almost completely full, and the bus’s emissions can be shared with a large number of fellow passengers. Train journeys produce around 55 grams of CO2 equivalents per person per kilometer. The bus therefore narrowly beats the train.

Sample trips to Valencia

When you travel, it is therefore important to first consider the distance you have to travel and the size of your party. If you come by car, you will probably not drive much further than about 1,800 kilometers for a holiday, the distance between Utrecht and Valencia. An average emission of 210 grams per kilometer then leads to a total emission of 378 kilos of CO2 equivalent for a single journey. But because you often don’t go on holiday alone by car, you can pass on half of that emission to your travel companion. If you share the car with three fellow travelers at all, there is only 94 kilos of CO2 equivalent left per person per person.

A flight over the same distance leads to the emission of 360 kilos of CO2 equivalents per person. If you are traveling alone to Valencia, then the plane seems to be a slightly better option than the car. But if you fly in pairs, you together cause 720 kilograms compared to the 378 kilograms in a car. If you go with four, you end up with no less than 1440 kilos. You can travel to Valencia by car almost four times for that. Bus and train are actually always more environmentally friendly options. Only when you travel with four people can a car be as clean.

Conclusion and advice

So how bad is flying really? If you’re going to Valencia or beyond on your own, flying is no worse than traveling by car, but the train or bus are still better options. Going even further, flying is often the only quick option to get there anyway, but the emissions quickly become huge due to the sheer number of kilometers you do. Our advice is therefore: just go to Spain and don’t choose the long flight anymore. Spain is many continents in miniature. And remember the following:

  • Travel less often and stay longer: Go to Spain once a year instead of three times a year, but stay three times as long.
  • Take the bus: Not the most comfortable way to travel, but by far the cleanest.
  • Share your car: If you still want to drive, make sure you go with more people. This is not only better for the environment, but also for your wallet. If you are traveling without family or friends, offer a lift! You can choose your fellow travelers yourself via a platform such as the Spanish BlaBlaCar. They get a cheap lift, you get a contribution to your fuel costs and the environment benefits from better occupied cars.

SPAIN! The travel and culture magazine is the Dutch-language glossy about Spain and the Spanish-speaking world, published four times a year in the Netherlands and Belgium. SPAIN! is a high-quality journalistic magazine with inspiring travel reports, beautiful interviews, fascinating columns, delicious recipes and hundreds of tips for lovers of Spain. You can read more information on the website

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