Oregonians exceed half million vehicle mile reduction goal in Oregon Drive Less Challenge
The first statewide Oregon Drive Less Challenge, running over a 12-day stretch, concluded on November 1 with participants exceeding the effort’s half million vehicle mile reduction goal. Thousands of Oregonians from all corners of the state collectively eliminated 913,664 vehicle miles and 658,696 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, plus saved over 33,899 gallons of gasoline and $225,460 by not driving alone. The Challenge was spearheaded by the Oregon Department of Transportation and its partners as part of the state’s ongoing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and alleviate traffic congestion. The Challenge is part of ODOT’s Drive Less Save More program, which was created by the Legislature to direct funding to encourage options that reduce driving.
“It’s pretty amazing that we exceeded our goal in this first-time, statewide Oregon Drive Less Challenge,” said ODOT Director Matt Garrett. “The great public response demonstrates how we can collectively make a difference, even over just 12 days, in reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions and helping to keep Oregon moving.”
Oregon drivers travel an estimated 33.4 billion vehicle miles annually, at a cost of about $1.4 billion in gas, resulting in 14.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Light vehicle use in the state accounts for 34 percent of Oregon’s total greenhouse gas emissions. The state of Oregon has set a goal to achieve greenhouse gas emission levels that are 75 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2050.
“The Challenge and prize drawings provided an extra incentive to get on the bike rather than take the car that works,” said Erik Suring, a Corvallis resident who participated in the Challenge. “I was glad to be on the bike last Friday, commuting home just before an evening Beaver home football game, when the traffic in the bike lane was moving faster than the car traffic on Highway 34.”
A total of 22,109 bike trips, 12,769 carpool trips, 10,035 bus trips, 2,567 light rail trips, 147 streetcar trips, 775 train trips, 7,865 walking trips, 2,122 telework trips and 1,014 vanpool trips were logged into DriveLessConnect.com by participants during the Challenge. Thanks to sponsors Wells Fargo and Bike Friday, a variety of daily and grand prizes were awarded to participants who logged trips.
“We think the broad involvement really shows how practical transportation options can be in saving families money, improving community health and preserving our high quality of life here in Oregon,” Garrett said.