The Drive Less Challenge is a friendly social competition to do less solo driving. It runs from Earth Day April 22 to May 5.

You keep track of how you get from place to place, and take opportunities to bike, walk, carpool and take transit instead of driving alone in a car. You can set a personal goal for the amount of Green Travel.

And for the most fun, you can participate with groups you identify (school, work, church/synagogue, neighborhood…). You can help your group to stand out! And you can compete to be the best in your group. You’ll see how your group is doing compared to others, and how you’re doing compared to people in your group. There are lots of fun prizes! There are many ways to win, because there are many great ways to drive less!

Prizes will be awarded for:

* most green travel (biking, walking, transit, carpool – most miles and most trips!)
* greenest group (workplace, school, faith community, etc)
* least driving/greenest travel (you need to log every day to be eligible for this)
* greatest green improvement (you need to add your “baseline” to be eligible for this prize)

When we pay attention to what we do every day, we see and take opportunities to change.

Frequently Asked Questions

It’s after Earth Day. Can I still participate?

YES but hurry! This Drive Less Challenge runs from April 22 to May 5. You can sign up any time during that period. Let’s say you sign up on April 24. You can enter your trips for the two preceding days in the trip log.

How do register, set up groups and log my trips?

Click “Take the Challenge” button to set up your profile, baseline & goals, groups, and log your trips to track your progress.

I don’t have a car? Can I participate?

YES! If you don’t have a car, and know ways to get around without driving, then your participation is valuable if you share your story, tips and tricks with others. You can win prizes for most green miles. You may find a way to improve in any case by taking the bike instead of carpool, bus or train for example.
Should I log my trips that I drive alone? YES! We need you to log both drive alone and alternative trips so that we can measure progress vs baseline and overall level of car miles vs green miles and emissions we make as a group during and after the Challenge.

What if I work from home?

We’ll have prizes for doing the least driving – even if you work from home, you can make your shopping and other errands greener to compete for prizes. You can be a great role mode by letting others know by posting a story.

What if I use a car and bus or bike for a trip?

Separate the trip part done by car, bike, bus, etc into separate trip log entries so that we give accurate credit for the green miles and CO2 emissions avoided for that trip.

Carpools – What if two participants make the same carpool trip?

Both of them record the trip using “carpool” mode. You are simply sharing the CO2 emissions that way.
Carpools – Is driving the neighbors kids to school a carpool? YES! Log the trip as a carpool trip if you are saving a car trip that would have been made by your neighbor by sharing your car in this way.

What about telecommuting, combining errands, video conferencing or other ways I use avoid car trips?

DLC encourages all ways to avoid driving alone. We do this simply by having you not log a car trip when you avoid one. That counts as improvement vs your baseline (which includes your normal amount of drive alone car miles). That counts toward the “most improved” prize category.

Recreation – Do I count the miles of my training rides or my bike rides with friends?

No. But if you bike, train or carpool to your recreation destination meeting place you can log that part of your outing as a green trip. The idea is to log a green trip only when it replaces miles you would otherwise have driven alone in a car. So biking or walking just for recreation or exercise should not count.

Carpools – My family drives together to church. Or my friend and I are driving to go hiking. Do we all get carpool credit?

No. The spirit of the DLC rules is to log an alternative mode where you normally drive alone. A carpool is as an alternative when instead of driving alone you have to make an effort to coordinate a ride because you don’t live in the same place or aren’t going to the same destination/activity. So normal family outings, kids riding with parents, drives with friends to spend time with friends somewhere don’t qualify as a carpool in the “alternative to driving alone” sense.

How do you calculate how many pounds of CO2 I saved if you don’t know what I drive?

The goal of the drive less challenge is to help people take opportunities to drive less but to do that we make a tradeoff between making it easy to take the challenge, and making precise measurements of carbon saved. So we’ve simplified data entry for participants and our calculations by approximating a given participant’s actual CO2 emissions saved using the average emissions per mile for a typical car in California (the “Drove Car Alone” mode) and subtracting the average rate for a typical trip using an alternative, green mode of transport like bus, train, or carpool.

What is a “small electric vehicle?

This is a special category of vehicle also known as a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle that is only capable of low speeds in the 20 – 25 mph maximum range and is not highway capable. It is much more efficient than a regular electric or hybrid vehicle.

Why are hybrids and electric cars treated the same as other cars?

We are using the Car category as an approximation that may not closely reflect a given participant’s situation, but the Drive Less Challenge is meant to generally encourage less solo driving of relatively large, heavy vehicles powered by non-renewable fuels in broadest sense. We group all these vehicles as cars because they fit in the car profile in the US from a fuel / energy efficiency standpoint; average of 23 to 24 mpg in California, and ranging from 12 to 50 mpg. This includes hybrid/electric equivalents from a CO2 emissions perspective since the electricity used to charge them if they plug in, largely comes from CO2 (and other pollution) emitting power plants which generate most of their power from coal and natural gas in the US.. All such vehicles emit excessive amounts of CO2 and other pollution per person when driven alone because they are made large and heavy and built for multiple people to travel in them at highway speeds.

What if I drive a motorcycle?

Use the “Drove Car Alone” category for logging trips if you use a typical motorcycle or motor scooter. The real problem is that motorcycles and scooters tend to generate much more harmful smog-forming pollutants than cars because of their less efficient engine types and the lack of relevant EPA standards for these vehicles. From a miles per gallon / CO2 perspective, gas powered motorcycles are not even very good (unofficially most motorcycles on the street are in the 25- 45 mpg range).