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LISTEN: What's the Carbon Footprint of Your Thanksgiving Dinner?
The traditional Thanksgiving fixings cost a lot of energy to produce - and consume.

As you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, consider this: how much energy it takes to produce and consume that food.

Throughout the year, transportation is responsible for 28 percent of our energy consumption. And there's a non-trivial bump right around Thanksgiving time. According to USA Today, more than 25 million people in the United States are expected to fly for the Thanksgiving holiday. 

The bad news for travelers is that those planes will be full. But the good news from an environmental perspective is that full planes get better mileage than half-full planes. Although full planes only will average 80 to 100 mpg, we take flights for long distances. Tens of millions more Americans will hit the roads. (I don't need to tell you how much fuel all those flights and trips will use!).  

You may not realize just how much energy we do use once we reach our destinations and sit down to enjoy the traditional feast.

Michael Webber is the Deputy Director of the Energy Institute, Josey Centennial Fellow in Energy Resources, Co-Director of the Clean Energy Incubator at the Austin Technology Incubator, and Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, where he trains a new generation of energy leaders through research and education at the intersection of engineering, policy, and commercialization.