What is the Most Efficient Mode of Transportation?

We’ve compiled the data on the most commonly used modes of transportation to find the cheapest, most efficient method of travel from point A to point B.

First, an explanation.

1) The data displayed below represents the energy cost, not the cost of ownership. The average automobile for example, has a 59-cent cost per mile according to AAA[4], but that is factoring ownership costs. Spending $70,000 on a Telsa may have other efficiency and environmental impacts that we are not going to measure here. Buying the cheapest product or “throwaway” electric products may also have a detrimental impact on the cost per mile and our environment. Again, we are not measuring those detrimental impacts.

2) For the Larger, multi-passenger vehicles like planes and trains, the MPG rating varies greatly depending on the number of passengers, or how effectively that mode is being utilized. We estimated figures based on average use in the United States.

3) The data represents not only the personal cost to pay for a mile of transportation, but also the environmental impact of the energy consumed. Whether consumed as electricity, petrol, or food, inefficient energy use will have a negative impact on the environment around us.

4) Walking Running and Biking. While these methods are also beneficial for your health. We are not factoring that in. Perhaps you already exercised during the day or are just trying to get to the gym. Our goal is simply to measure the efficiency of transportation, not what is good for your health. The cost to eat; another highly variable cost, but 80 cents per 100 calories is likely on the low side. The human body is not necessarily the cheapest generator.

*MPG = Miles Per Gallon (per person)
*CPM = Cost Per Mile (cents, USD)

175lb person
Walking MPG = 660 CPM = 48

CPM – 90 calories per mile -30(to exist for 20 minutes)= 60 cals. At $.80 per 100cal, energy cost of walking = 48 cents per mile.

Running MPG = 350 CPM = 88

CPM – 140 calories per mile -20(to exist for 12 minutes)= 110 cals. At $.80 per 100cal, energy cost of running = 88 cents per mile.

Biking MPG = 880 CPM = 36

CPM – Moderate Cycling at 12 to 14 mph will burn 55 cals -10 cals(to exist for 5 minutes) = 45 calories. At $.80 per 100cal, energy cost of biking = 36 cents per mile.

Driving (avg Car) MPG = 25 CPM = 10

CPM – 73 cents per mile calculated as a total expense per AAA, but in just energy cost, we take an average 25mpg vehicle with the national average of gas $2.37, to get, 10 cents per mile.

Electric Car (Tesla) MPG = 126 CPM = 5

CPM – A topic of much debate, but an average energy use cost of 5 cents per mile.

Train MPG = 72 CPM = n/a (too many variables)

CPM- There are too many variables here to even reflect an accurate cost. Our MPG estimate is taken from the department of energy and estimated based on Amtrak’s average capacity per train. The MPG estimates are per person. In European countries and areas with more efficient use, the cost per mile, and thus miles per gallon is likely a lot lower.

Flying MPG = 43 CPM = 26

CPM- We are getting our data from Rome2Rio’s global flight data report. The MPG to fly as a passenger can be difficult to calculate. It very much depends on the efficiency of the airline, airplane, seat utilization, etc.

Electric Bike (Ride1UP.com) MPG = 1667 CPM = 0.32

CPM- 500wh or .5 kwh will take you 25 miles only using the battery, no pedaling. Average cost of 16 cents/kw, that’s 8 cents, for 25 miles, or 0.32 cents to go a mile. MPG EQUATION: .5kwh = 0.015 Gallons of Gas. Which takes you 25miles. Which equals 1667 mpg.

Electric Skateboard (Ride1UP.com) MPG = 1700 CPM = .3

CPPM- 270wh takes you 14 miles, See equation above. almost the exact same MPG as the electric bike. Nearly the same energy consumption per mile as electric bikes. Quick note regarding dock-less rental scooters. Maintenance fleets and or battery chargers have to drive around every 15 miles of riding to pick them up and charge them. Reducing their green impact.

There you have it. Your Ride1UP electric bike or board is more efficient and less impactful on the planet (excluding production/waste costs) than any other method measured; and by a long shot! To get one today, visit Ride1UP.com. Our core mission is promoting efficiency and affordable quality that will last.



1) https://afdc.energy.gov/data/
2) https://www.verywellfit.com/walking-calories-burned-by-miles-3887154
3) https://www.runnersworld.com/training/a20801301/calories-burned-running-calculator/
4) https://newsroom.aaa.com/tag/driving-cost-per-mile/https://gasprices.aaa.com/
5) https://www.investopedia.com/articles/active-trading/041515/economics-owning-tesla-car.asp
6) https://www.livestrong.com/article/135430-calories-burned-biking-one-mile/
7) http://www.ebikeschool.com/much-power-electric-bicycle-need/
8) https://www.energuide.be/en/questions-answers/what-does-my-electric-bike-consume/1714/
9) https://chesterenergyandpolicy.com/2018/06/11/the-electric-scooter-fallacy-just-because-theyre-electric-doesnt-mean-theyre-green/
10) https://www.exploratorium.edu/cycling/humanpower1.html
11) https://truecostblog.com/2010/05/27/fuel-efficiency-modes-of-transportation-ranked-by-mpg/
12) https://www.rome2rio.com/labs/2018-global-flight-price-ranking/
13) https://www.calculateme.com/energy/kilowatt-hours/to-gallons-of-gas/