Does a cross-country flight at full capacity require more or less energy than if the same number of people were to all drive the same distance?



  1. 0 Votes

    There are a whole lot of variables at play here. It is going to depend on the type of engines and fuels that are used (compare if everyone drove their own hummer vs. if every four people got into a hybrid! — you could probably use 8x as much fuel or more if you did it one way vs. the other).  But yes planes are considered more energy intensive (so in theory it would require more energy)… but consider the fact that all those people are going to have to spend 2 or 3 days making their way across the country, and they are going to have to eat, sleep, shower, watch tv, and all that — so if you considered everything — maybe riding on a plane would end up requiring less energy!? Probably not though, considering planes burn like 5 gallons of fuel per mile (which they equate to about a gallon of fuel per second!). But, honestly, I don’t know if anyone could tell you the answer to this for sure… too much goes into the problem to control all the variables… but probably (if everyone just drove whatever car they own or had to take the bus — and you had an average of 2 people per car) driving would be somewhat less energy intensive…. sorry I can’t quantify this with any figures right now… but maybe it’s worth looking into in the future!

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