HYBRID AND ELECTRIC VEHICLES
Transportation now produces the highest percentage of greenhouse gas emissions in the US (see Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions | US EPA). Most experts now agree that electric vehicles (EVs) are part of the solution to reduce our impact on climate change, along with de-carbonization of our electric power industry. When replacing your current automobile, this article from Consumer Reports explains the technology of passive hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and fully electric vehicles and may help you decide which will work best for you: How to Decide If a Hybrid, Plug-In Hybrid, or Fully Electric Car Is Right for You
To learn more about the latest research into the many health and environmental benefits of replacing your gas-powered car with a plug-in EV, or to find information to convince a friend, see: Factcheck: How electric vehicles help to tackle climate change and How electric vehicles offered hope as climate challenges grew | Science News.
To learn about specific makes and models of EVs and how to find one that best meets your needs, the Sierra Club and Plug In America both have excellent websites with buyer guides to help shop for an all-electric or hybrid car, truck, motorcycle, or bike. Used EVs as well as new cars are available locally; see more information and buyer guides at Electric Vehicles | Sierra Club and Plug In America.
LOCAL PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
When it comes to public transportation, while not ideal, we have several choices in the Triangle. Because there are so many stops along the various bus routes, we are providing links to the bus maps and schedules. The Orange County Transportation web site provides several options: Transportation | Orange County, NC , and explains the different options, such as GoTriangle, which requires a fee but also makes weekly and monthly passes, free bus passes for seniors and for people with disabilities available. It is also possible to pay with cash.
Orange-Chapel Hill Connector (OCH) provides mid-day service Monday through Friday from Cedar Grove to UNC Medical Center on Manning Drive in Chapel Hill, with various stops in Hillsborough and Chapel Hill along the way, including the Hillsborough Branch of UNC Hospitals. OCH Route Map (PDF) One important transfer point is on the corner of East Rosemary St. and North Columbia.
The Hillsborough Circulator is a Fare-free service within Hillsborough. Hillsborough Circulator Route Map (PDF)
Chapel Hill and Carrboro offer free bus service. Routes and schedules are on their website : Routes & Schedules | Town of Chapel Hill, NC Links take you to All Rides; Common Destinations; and a System Map, which is a PDF file for each of the separate routes.
EZ-Rider is a door-to-door service in Chapel Hill. EZ-Rider transports individuals who are unable to use the fixed route system (some or all of the time) due to a disability in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). EZ Rider uses lift-equipped vehicles serving the Town of Chapel Hill, the Town of Carrboro and surrounding areas within ¾ of a mile of the fixed-route bus system. EZ Rider | Town of Chapel Hill, NC
Riding the rails emits one-third of the pollution of other modes. Unfortunately the passenger rail industry is not nearly as well developed here as in Europe, partially due to a strong trucking lobby, which dominated during critical years in the past when rail transportation could have been better developed as an alternative. Local efforts to have light rail connections in our area have failed after years of debate, but some discussions continue. See Ready For Rail There are some routes between major cities up and down the East Coast that can be used for a much more relaxing trip than battling traffic on the interstates. There are Amtrak stations in Durham and Cary. Here is an Amtrak route map: The Amtrak Network
If you would like to become more involved in advocating to make our rail system more efficient and effective through electrification to help solve the Climate Crisis, view Solutionary Rail's website and video. Solutionary Rail
SAVE ENERGY COMMUTING AND AROUND TOWN
In addition to taking public transit, consider walking or using a bicycle when possible. Consider a car pool for commuting to work. Plan shopping and errands when driving so you make all the needed stops while you’re out and try to do them in a logical circuit that minimizes distance traveled. Coast up to stop lights and take it easy when accelerating. Some gas-powered cars have an ECONOMY setting that saves gas. Use it.
To contact ECO with questions, get on our ECO email list, or explore joining our committee send an email to email@example.com.