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The May holidays have arrived and many Dutch people are looking forward to a well-deserved week away. Nice, such a city trip. But how fun is that trip really for the environment? Get ready for Paris. We compared a trip to the French capital by plane, (electric) car, train and, for the adventurous traveller: e-bike.

Why you need to know this:

We regularly take the plane, car or electric bike to get to our destination. We are aware of the environmental impact of air travel, but what about the other modes of transport? Let’s compare them.


Perhaps not surprisingly, the airplane is by far the most polluting, especially when it comes to shorter distances. The plane covers about 420 kilometres in the air. Once it arrives in Paris, its emissions per passenger are about 113,400 grams of CO₂.

Petrol car

To admire the Eiffel Tower, most of us get into our cars. In fact, Dutch people cover most kilometres by car (68%), followed at a good distance by train (12%) and bicycle (8%). We spend about six hours on the road. The distance: 481 kilometres. That amounts to 71,669 grams of CO₂.

Electric car

Then: the e-car. Electric cars were more popular than diesel cars in the European Union for the first time last year. Many Dutch people now also own one. And with more than enough charging stations along the way, we don’t hesitate to make the trip to the French capital. A good choice, also for the environment. You emit about 25,493 grams of CO₂.


Sit back and relax! You can reach Paris in no time by train: from Utrecht Central station, grab the Eurostar and be there within four hours. The train covers about 406 kilometres. That amounts to just 2233 grams of CO₂. So almost negligible compared to the above travel options. Very surprisingly, this is not the case. After all, public transport uses much more green electricity than cars. NS trains, for instance, run entirely on green electricity.

Electric bike

Some people like a more adventurous way of travelling. On an electric bike to Paris: you just have to dare. You cover 510 kilometres and spend at least two days on the road. But: no one can tell you that you are not being active. You emit about 1530 grams of CO₂ with this trip. Even less than the train.

It is clear: if you want a fun and sustainable city trip, you should opt for the e-bike. If that is a bit too ambitious, go for electric over fuel. As more and more clean energy sources generated from solar and wind become part of the energy mix in Europe, e-travel will only get cleaner in the future.

And, should you really want to travel completely clean, there is, of course, always the pram. We wouldn’t put it past you. Au Revoir!

Calculating emissions for your own journey? Click here for emissions by land transport type. And here for air travel.