Sustainability experts demand for cheaper train travel, with Brits spending 358% more to travel by rail

Sustainability experts demand for cheaper train travel, with Brits spending 358% more to travel by rail

New data has revealed the pressing dilemma of saving cost or carbon emissions for Brits, as train travel is discovered to be 358% more expensive than driving. In response to a 4.9% rail fare hike earlier this year, Brits are having to opt for more cost-effective modes of transport despite the carbon impact it creates.

New research from Innovative Energy Consultants has now analysed journeys to major cities in the UK and compared the financial and environmental costs of travelling via car, train, and plane for two people.

An average journey between cities in the UK costs just £34.19 in petrol for two people, but £156.38 for two train tickets, a 358% increase.

For 81% of trips, flying is more affordable than taking the train, with one trip even being cheaper by plane. Flying from London to Edinburgh would cost Brits just £36 compared to £39.44 by car and £97 via train.

The environmental dilemma 

Across the journeys analysed, two flyers would be responsible for 2.8 tonnes of CO2e, compared to 0.37 tonnes of CO2e via train, making flying 7.7 times as polluting as train travel. Travelling 200 miles (Manchester to London) costs more than triple the amount to travel via train than by car, however, driving this distance emits almost triple the amount of carbon.

On average, travelling via train emits 33 kgCO2e of carbon for two passengers while driving produces 100 kgCO2e of carbon emissions, almost triple the amount of greenhouse has emissions.

Eleanor Akers, Director and Founder of Innovative Energy Consultants, a sustainability and strategy consultancy for businesses, comments: “Every time someone chooses the train over driving, they’re taking a car off the UK’s overcrowded roads and reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions and air pollution. Every time they choose the train over flying, they’re signalling to the market that sustainability matters. Unfortunately, the UK’s regulatory environment is not sending the same signals with trains paying taxes on energy that airlines are exempt from. As a nation, we have a legally binding net zero by 2050 target. I don’t know how we can reach this when businesses and ordinary people are being asked to pay such a high price for sustainability during a cost-of-living crisis.

“I urge everyone to sign this petition to help make train travel genuinely affordable and to write to their MP to let them know how important this issue is to both economic growth and achieving our national sustainability targets. I also urge businesses to set an internal carbon price and use this to create clear business travel policies to empower staff to make the sustainable choice wherever possible.”



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