It depends on the aircraft, but generally carbon footprints for small aircraft may be a little better than cars, but much better than big airliners. For example, take a Cessna 172, the most popular small aircraft in the world, for a distance of 400 miles. Based on the Cessna’s fuel consumption statistics, you’ll use 21 gallons of fuel. Driving the same distance in a Subaru, you’d use 16 gallons. However, as aircraft last much longer than cars, the eco-footprint of building them is much less per mile flown than per mile driven for a car. There is considerable evidence that small aircraft have much smaller carbon footprints than large passenger jets, mainly because of all the waste, delays and congestion associated with airlines and operation of large airports (small aircraft usually fly point-to-point between smaller civilian airstrips).
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