Green Commuting: Why It Matters and How to Do It

Green commuting is obviously most important in addressing climate change and reducing your impact on the environment. It might also make economic sense. Many green commute initiatives offer incentives to encourage making your commute to work less environmentally harmful. You can save on your auto insurance by reducing usage as well. If you want to green your commute, you can carpool, drive a more efficient car, or use a bicycle or other non-fossil fuel driven vehicle. If you want to learn how to make your commute green and why you should, read on.

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Chris Tepedino is a feature writer that has written extensively about auto insurance for numerous websites. He has a college degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and has experience reporting, researching investigative pieces, and crafting detailed, data-driven features. His works have been featured on CB Blog Nation, Flow Words, Healing Law, WIBW Kansas, and ...

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Reviewed by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Insurance Agent Rachael Brennan

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021

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Changing how you commute is a great idea for a lot of reasons. You can save on auto insurance if you have usage-based insurance, you can save on gas, and you can even save the environment.

More and more people are becoming aware of their effect on the environment. One aspect many cities, towns, and individuals are trying to increase is green commuting.

A green commute is any form of commuting that does not involve a single passenger driving alone to work.

A report by Climate Communication states over 76% of Americans drive alone to work every day. This causes traffic and congestion on the roadways, affectionately known as “rush hour.”

Thanks to the growing awareness of the many benefits, there are now more ways to engage in green commuting than ever before. From public transportation to driverless cars, it’s a viable option for a larger portion of the workforce.

Driving your car less means cheaper car insurance too. Use our FREE tool to see how much you can save.

Why Green Commuting Matters

The overwhelming majority of Americans do not participate in a green commute, which can have a host of negative effects on the environment.

Climate Communication findings show that 62% of the public now understands that global warming is caused mostly by human activities.

As climate change becomes an increasingly bigger concern for a greater number of people, it is even more important to make choices that benefit the earth — including more sustainable modes of transportation.

A major cause of global warming is the transportation industry. According to the EPA, it is the leading cause of carbon emissions, accounting for 29% in 2019. One of the ways countries are trying to reduce carbon emissions from transportation is to promote the adoption of electric vehicles.

In the US, certain states are pushing for EV adoption more than others. Check out our list of the 10 best states to own an electric vehicle for more information.

Benefits of Green Commuting

In addition to being environmentally friendly, green commuting also has many other benefits:

  • It reduces traffic and congestion, making commutes safer and faster.
  • It saves money. According to Brookings, Transportation is the second-highest living expense for most Americans, which makes owning a car less and less convenient.
  • It improves physical and mental health.

While the benefits of sustainable transportation are significant, many people don’t know where to begin. Contrary to popular belief, it is now easier than ever to take part in a green commute.

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Sustainable Transportation Alternatives

There are several different ways you can commute green, but here are a few of the most popular methods.

Take Public Transportation

Most cities and towns have a bus, train, or other forms of public transportation that you can use to get to work.

Buses, in particular, can help in many ways — one bus can take 19 cars off the road.

See what public transit options are available in your area; they may not take much longer than driving, and they’re typically affordable to use.

Start a Carpool

If any of your coworkers live close by or can easily be picked up on your way to work, ask them if they’d like to start carpooling with you. The same study by Brookings also found that only 9% of drivers carpool.

This alternative mode of transportation allows each participant to save on gas. Many carpools develop a rotating system, so no commuter has to drive two days in a row. This can also be a great option if a friend or neighbor works close by or can be dropped off en route to your workplace.

Ride a Bike

Biking is a quick, easy, and active way to get to and from work. It’s an especially effective method if you live within a few miles of your workplace.

According to Brookings, 22 of 50 cities are seeing an increased rate in cyclists, resulting in less traffic and safer commutes.

If you do live farther away, don’t worry; there is a potential solution. Electric bikes and scooters are growing in popularity, and many big cities have developed a system by which commuters can rent them. Even more recently, consumers can now buy their own electric vehicles, ensuring a greener commute.


Walking is another easy and active way to commute to work. Besides being physically beneficial, it is also a great way to clear your mind before the workday begins. This is probably only a viable option if you live close to where you work, but if it’s an option for you, it can be a great way to start your day.

Work from Home

Working from home counts as a form of green commuting. More and more workers are telecommuting, a type of work that allows you to remotely log in to your job from home.

In a study by And Co., 91% of workers surveyed were remote workers, and 62% said they went remote because of the freedom and flexibility.

If you have the ability to work remotely, you can cut out your commute altogether, and keep in touch with your office by using real-time communication tools.

What To Do If You Can’t Green Commute

Green commuting isn’t always realistic or feasible for everyone, and even if it is, there are some days where you might have to drive alone to get to work.

While you should still try to use green transportation when you can to reap the above benefits, you can make your car more eco-friendly too — and your insurance agency may even offer different rates or discounts for green driving.

Find discounts through insurance.

The Defensive Driver Discount rewards non-aggressive drivers. Not only can this help save money on your next bill, it can also reduce the wear and tear on your car and the likeliness of being in an accident.

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Make sure your tires are fully inflated.

Low tire pressure can put a strain on your engine, not to mention the amount of money you spend to keep them inflated. Click here for some helpful tips on how to check your tire pressure.

Remove unnecessary weight from the vehicle.

This helps with fuel economy and prolongs the life of your engine.

“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt

While climate change as a whole seems overwhelming, individuals can do their part by simply partaking in sustainable transportation.

Start by changing what you can about your own commute, then challenge others to get involved as well.

Maybe suggest a friendly competition at work between all your coworkers. With all the above options, there has to be at least one way you can conveniently make your commute greener, which will be both environmentally and monetarily beneficial.

First benefit: lower your car insurance by 20% or more just by driving less. Simply enter your ZIP code to get a free quote now.

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