Elon Musk's Private Jet Emitted 146 Times More CO2 Than the Average American in 2022

Elon Musk's Jet at Van Nuys Airport 10 photos
Photo: LAX Videography and Spotting on YouTube
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Even though Elon Musk is often perceived as the man who defeated legacy automakers and forced them to prioritize making EVs for the sake of the environment, the executive doesn’t like spending time in an electric car, nor does he use cleaner means of transportation. Here’s the proof.
2022 was a big year for Elon Musk. Tesla had to deal with the parts shortage, factory output delays, and supply chain issues. Meanwhile, other ventures like SpaceX got dragged into geopolitical disputes. Then, the complicated Twitter acquisition happened. To put it mildly, as one of the richest people on Earth, Musk had many things to deal with last year.

There’s no denying that an executive needs to be present where the action is happening. After all, the sake of the company depends on who is in charge. For someone like Elon Musk, who currently serves as CEO of three major companies and is a founder or co-founder of other entities like Neuralink or OpenAI, time is of the essence. So, to make sure he can be in as many places as possible, the man chose to do most of his travels by private jet.

You may know or have heard about the recent debacle surrounding the public tracking of his jet’s location on Twitter by now 20-year old Jack Sweeney. Tesla’s CEO said he was ok with it at first but changed his mind, citing personal safety reasons. Now, after some public outcry regarding free speech, the tracking of his jet is back on Twitter. However, results are shown with a delay. But that applies only to the social network Elon Musk owns. People on the internet felt that the executive was being dishonest about being a “free speech absolutist” and started sharing his jet’s whereabouts on other platforms even more intensely.

But something interesting starts to unravel when almost all of Elon Musk’s private jet travels are accounted for and the data is mashed together. According to information provided by the ADSBexchange (self-named “the world's largest public source of unfiltered flight data”) which was compiled by Ground Control (Jack Sweeney’s platform), Musk’s usage of the private jet led to the addition of approximately 1,895 tons of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.

That number might not startle anyone at first. However, when we’re looking at what the International Energy Agency (IEA) says about CO2 emission per capita in the U.S., we discover that Tesla’s CEO produced nearly 146 times more carbon dioxide than the average American. IEA’s most recent data regarding America’s CO2 emission per capita shows a steady yearly decline and is now sitting at 12.9 tons of CO2 per citizen.

Things don’t look much different when World Bank’s data regarding CO2 emission per capita is used. However, this set hasn’t been updated since 2020.

Private jet travel has recently been a concern for many environmentalists around the world. This activity is currently regarded as one of the biggest sources of CO2 pollution, which is being recognized as one of the main factors of global climate change. Celebrities like Travis Scott and Kylie Jenner have been publicly admonished for spending too much time in the air.

Finally, the data includes most of the CEO’s 134 domestic and international flights. In 2022, Musk visited the UK, Qatar, Germany, Brazil, France, Greece, and Norway. In total, he flew for over 351 hours or over 14 days.

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About the author: Florin Amariei
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Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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