Is Walking Fuel Free?

While comparing fuels I found an interesting comparison that I had never even considered. Is walking and bicycling truly better for the environment? Does it use less fuel? Produce fewer emissions? Of course I naturally answered yes, very quickly, but I learned I was very wrong.

I found several different websites comparing the amount of fuel used in walking, biking and driving. When walking and cycling I had not considered that the fuel used is the food that was eaten by the person traveling. Not only is this considered a fuel, but I also had to realize that, if it was meat, the animal had eaten fuel (grain and such) before the human ate the animal. There is also the processing and transportation of the animal, which uses more fuels.

“David Pimentel of Cornell University calculates that it takes nearly twice as much fossil energy to produce a typical American diet than a pure vegetarian diet.” (Michael Bluejay) Mr. Pimentel considers the typical American diet one that contains red meats and such – the average American diet. On, Michel Bluejay explains that beef requires 200 times more fossil fuel to produce then veggies and grains do. This is because cattle eat 14 times more grain they produce as meat.

Chris Goodall author of ‘How to live a low-carbon life’ estimates that if a human walks 1.5 miles and replace those calories burned with 1 cups of milk the emissions are about equal to a normal car trip.

In the end meat eaters’ use about 200 more gallons of fossil fuels per year then a vegetarian does. In driving terms this equates to 14 extra miles per day.

For more information please visit:

Bicycle universe

NY Times