• Menu
  • Menu

The complete CO2, time and cost overview of our journey from Copenhagen to Malaga

Rasmus

This blog post is a small study of what CO2, time and cost we have used on our road trip in a big plug-in hybrid car compared to what we would have used flying. With this post, we hope to shed some light on the difference between the different ways of transportation. Our survey is based on a roundtrip journey.

Disclaimer!

Before jumping into our findings we want to emphasize that this is NOT a big scientific academic study. You have to be aware that our method is not perfect, does have uncertainties and does not include all factors(weather, weight, overall passenger number on flights, the difference in airplane efficiency, etc.). We are using online calculation services that use very general and average numbers, and these calculation services also have many limitations and uncertainties. Furthermore, we want to place special importance on the fact that CO2 is not the only greenhouse gas that is emitted by cars and aircraft and this study only takes CO2 into account. We, therefore, ask you to perceive this post, not as fact, but more as an idea of the difference there is between the cost, time and CO2 emissions of the airplane and plug-in hybrid cars when getting from Copenhagen to Malaga and back.

CO2

Transportation

Roadtrip

Flight


0.46 ton for 2 people
Facts from
calculator.carbonfootprint.com / https://www.gff.global/

1.37 ton for 2 people
Facts from
calculator.carbonfootprint.com / https://www.gff.global/

First of all, this is our calculation of the total amount of CO2 emitted by two people in a large petrol plug-in hybrid car and an aircraft on the total distance between Copenhagen and Malaga and back again. As you can see, two people in a large petrol plug-in hybrid car have a total emission of 0,46 ton CO2. Two people in an airplane have a total emission of 1.37 ton CO2.

Hotel

Roadtrip

Flight

31.1 x 12 nights = 373,2 kg CO2

https://considerategroup.com/carbon-emissions/

During our road trip from Copenhagen to Malaga, we had six stops and sleeps at hotels. We have therefore chosen to include 12 nights at hotels(roundtrip) into this calculation of the CO2 emission from hotel stays. We are using the number of the accepted standard of carbon footprint to calculate this, but in reality, this number will vary a lot. 12 nights at a hotel during a road trip has a total emission of 373,2 kg CO2. If you fly you won’t have any hotel stays as you arrive on the same day. You could argue, that you were going to sleep at home or at the destination in accommodations anyway before and after taking a flight. And you could also argue that when you are sleeping at hotels during the road trip, your energy use and emissions at home are significantly lower – but let’s just keep it simple and include the hotel stays during the road trip to the calculation for the sake of it.


Time

Roadtrip

60 hours (driving)

Flight

8 hours (flying)

This is the calculation of the travel time from Copenhagen to Malaga and back again. In car it would take around 60 hours and in aircraft, the travel time would be around 8 hours. This calculation is only limited to the actual travel time – it does not include breaks on the road trip or check-in, boarding or waiting time at the airport.


Price

Roadtrip

Flight

941,64€ (fuel)
1200€ (12x hotel nights)
468€ (3*12) x 6.8€ = ((3 meals per day x travel days) x price))

= 2.641€ in total

2.641€ / 2 = 1.320,5€ per person

240€ (120€ per person)

www.momondo.com
Calculated on: https://www.calkoo.com/

This is our calculation of the price of our journey on a road trip and on flights. We have included 12 hotel stays and 3 meals * 12 days during the road trip. You could again argue that you are also eating when flying and eating on the days before and after your flight, but we are not including that in this calculation. The price of the flight tickets is based on the cheapest alternative: economy without any extras like checked-in luggage or seat reservation. We have not included the price of renting a car in this calculation. We have calculated that our average costs for a meal are 6.8€ during road trips. This is a very subjective number and will vary according to lifestyle.

Summary and conclusion

Roadtrip

C02: 790 kg CO2
Time: 60 hours
Price: 2.641€

(Based on two people)

Flight

CO2: 1.270 kg CO2
Time: 8 hours
Price: 240€

(Based on two people)

The conclusion of this little fun study is, that going on a road trip in a big plug-in hybrid car from Copenhagen to Malaga and back pollutes almost half as much CO2 than if you were to fly the same distance. Which is actually shocking. However, it does take more time and it does cost a lot more.

Our thoughts on this

By taking the car and going on a road trip you have several pros like flexibility and exploring things along the way. Instead of transportation just being the transportation – you are already on your holiday exploring tons of things on the way to your destination! You are able to stay wherever you want along the route and for as long as you like. Personally, we love Paris and San Sebastian, so we decided to spend a few days in each of these cities.


Arguably, the most valuable resource for people in this century is time. We believe everybody who reads this article is thinking: “hmm.. a few nights in Paris, drinking wine in Montmartre and then a few days eating tapas and watching surfers in San Sebastian sounds pretty damn good”. But no one has the time for it right? Because you “only” have about 5 weeks of holiday every year(if you are lucky enough to be Scandinavian) and you don’t feel like spending them in a car.
Well, this has everything to do with your mindset. Because if you don’t see the road trip as transportation but as part of your holiday, you won’t see time on the road as wasted time. Suddenly you are exploring how the landscape, the architecture, the people and the cuisines change every second of your journey.


One really big concern we find in this study is the price difference! We believe that there are a lot of people out there that truly want to make a change and choose the most sustainable way of traveling. But it is difficult to make a change when it is SO expensive to make a better choice – especially when you are young! We are there with you! The travel industry has to change in order for us to be able to afford the most sustainable way to travel these distances.
The reason we have decided to change our mission statement and only fly maximum once a year is because we want to make a statement towards the airline and fuel giants. By lowering the demand for flights we want to push them to invest more in alternative fuel sources so that we (hopefully soon) can fly, save time and money but doing so in a more sustainable manner.

Travel cost, time and CO2 emission on weekend getaways from Copenhagen to Berlin or Paris

We understand it might be difficult for some of you to relate to a road trip to southern Spain – which is why we have made two examples below of weekend getaways from Copenhagen to Berlin and Copenhagen to Paris. Once again we have focused on time, cost and CO2 emissions when traveling by a big plug-in hybrid car and airplane, but we have also included trains. The calculations are based on the same calculation services used above. We have not included hotel stays or meals in any of the calculations, we have not included car rent and we have chosen the cheapest flight tickets without extras like checked-in luggage.

Copenhagen – Berlin

Roadtrip

C02: 120 kg CO2
Time: 16 hours
Price: 270€

(Based on two people)

Train

CO2: 75 kg CO2
Time: 17 hours
Price: 258 €

(Based on two people)

Flight

CO2: 491 kg CO2
Time: 2 hours
Price: 132€

(based on two people)

Copenhagen – Paris

Roadtrip

C02: 404 kg CO2
Time: 27 hours
Price: 478€

(Based on two people)

Train

CO2: 210 kg CO2
Time: 37 hours
Price: 670€

(Based on two people)

Flight

CO2: 757 kg CO2
Time: 4 hours
Price: 347€

(based on two people)

Leave a Reply

1 comment

%d bloggers like this: