Transportation-Based Carbon Dioxide Emissions for Every Thousand Dollars of GDP in US Regions

May 10, 2018
Chart of Transportation-Based Emissions of Carbon Dioxide per Unit of Economic Output in US Regions

The chart above shows transportation-based carbon dioxide emissions broken down by economic output in US regions.  The South is by far the leading emitter of transportation-based carbon dioxide in this metric.


  • The difference between the region with the most emissions per thousand dollars of GDP, the South, and the region with the least, the Northeast, is 56.72 metric tons.
  • The South emits 1.87 times the carbon dioxide per thousand dollars of GDP that the Northeast does.
  • Only the South emits more than 100 metric tons in this metric.


  • GDP data is from 2016.
  • Emissions data is from 2013.
  • All figures are rounded to the nearest hundredth.
  • GDP and emissions data come from different sources.
  • The road network is very limited in Alaska, so much so that the state capital is not connected by road, and one in 78 people are pilots.
  • The Southern US consists of Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana, South Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, and West Virginia.
  • The Midwestern US consists of Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
  • The Western US consists of California, Washington, Colorado, Arizona, Oregon, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Hawaii, Idaho, Alaska, Montana, and Wyoming.
  • The Northeastern US consists of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Delaware, Maine, Rhode Island, and Vermont.


The Northeast's emission rate is lower than the emission rate of every state outside of the Northeast while the South's rate is higher than the rate of every single Northeastern state save for Maine.  The South and Northeast are also the leading and trailing regions when it comes to per capita emissions.

The United States as a whole emits 94.89 metric tons of carbon dioxide per thousand dollars of GDP from transportation sources annually ranking it just under the Midwest and above the West.


US Bureau of Economic Analysis.  2017.  "Regional Data."  Accessed October 26, 2017.

United States Department of Transportation.  2015.  "State Transportation by the Numbers."  Accessed March 21, 2018.

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