Carbon friendly European travel – to fly or to drive?

We’re heading towards Rome next July (from Bray).  We are thinking about driving there with two toddlers in the back seat.  Aside from perhaps it being daft to consign the kids to hours and hours in the car, and us along with them – I’m wondering is it the ‘green’ thing to do?

So I googled Carbon Calculators and came across the one noted below (a)

Its saying 4.5 tonnes for the return trip for the flights.

It is roughly 1890 kilometres
Dublin (Ireland) to Rome (Italy).
Estimated CO2e = 4.5 tonnes.

Comparing it to the driving of 4000 km with a 12Litre/100km petrol 1.4 l car, this other calculator site (b) comes up with 1.1 tonnes.  Now that doesn’t include the ferry footprint. Anyone know where that would come in?    Is it better to landbridge over England from Ireland to France, or ferry to France? 

My litre/100km calculation is based on the figures on my car display (which actually averages my consumption to date on the car at 8L/100km average – I’m just erring on the side of caution)

Is it better to stick to motorways from a carbon point of view? 

Any advise from anyone who has made such a trip before?

Geez, its all questions from me.





5 Responses to Carbon friendly European travel – to fly or to drive?

  1. greennav says:

    Great post Claire, Fairplay

  2. D says:

    What’s your car make and model, year, manual/automatic as I have fuel and CO2 emissions figures for all cars.

  3. micallc says:

    Great Thanks very much
    Its a Skoda Octavia Ambiente, 2008, Manual, Petrol 1.4 litre.
    Kind a Beige in colour in case that makes a difference 🙂
    Any idea on the carbon calculations for ferries?

  4. D says:

    Here’s what you need:


    Octavia Hatchback (from NOV 06)

    1.4 16V 80bhp


    Engine Capacity

    Fuel Type

    Metric Urban (Cold)

    Metric Extra-Urban

    Metric Combined

    Imperial Urban (Cold)

    Imperial Extra-Urban

    Imperial Combined

    CO2 g/km

    Euro Standard

    Noise Level dB(A)

    Emissions CO

    Emissions HC

    Emissions NOx

    Hope this helps.

    In regards to ferries, they are actually worse per person in certain instances than flying but not always.

    PS: Colour doesn’t make a difference except pink where you add 5% to the figures!!

  5. Mike says:

    In 1988 I was invited to take part in the inaugural Pirelli Classic Marathon which aimed to re-create
    the ‘ethos’ of events such as the ‘Monte Carlo rally’, the’Mille Miglia’ etc. of the 1950’s

    I accepted, and thus began my love of driving across Europe

    I began with a wife and two kids, a trailer tent and a basic family car venturing as far as Brittany, would you believe,
    then progressed as a couple to Belgium, Holland and on to Germany, Switzerland, Italy and on one occasion to southern Spain
    I’ve learnt about French lorry drivers blockading Channel Ports, (involving a change of route at the last minute),
    about European roads, languages, music, cuisine, and the fantastic scenery that is there for the taking

    A cheapo flight to Benidorm? I don’t think so!
    Apart from anything else, all you see is 2/3 airport lounges/your hotel/and a beach
    Boring or what ?

    The sense of adventure, and the satisfaction of organising these trips for yourself,
    is worth 10 ‘package tours’ to anywhere in the world you care to mention
    Europe is large enough for all of us And it’s grand!

    Now, as a single retired guy, I revel in the ability to plan next years holiday,
    current favourites being the Italian Lakes of Maggiore, Como and Garda

    I hope that some of you may be on my ‘wavelength’ and decide to look in to this type of holiday

    I’m not trying to sell anything at all, but you may like to look at my information website,, for the complete story

    Regards Mike ( )

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