DiCaprio Claims ‘Normal Person Does Not Drive More’ Than 31 Miles a Day

Film star Leonardo DiCaprio seems a bit confused. He recently promised to “fly around the world doing good for the environment,” apparently forgetting it will take a whole lot of fossil fuels to do it, unless he sprouts wings.

He also made the strange claim that a “normal” person drives less than 50 km  (31 miles) a day, a distance which can easily be handled by an electric car. Only, flying has a bigger environmental impact than driving, and “normal” people often drive much longer distances.

"My roof is covered with solar panels. My car is electric. A normal person does not drive more than 50km [31 miles] a day. That can be done with a plug,'' the “Titanic” actor told the German daily Bild, according to the New Zealand Herald.

According to the US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration’s 2009 National Household Travel Survey, the average number of miles driven per person per day is 36.1, or 58 km, a number not too distant from DiCaprio’s. However, this number is an average, lumping together those who drive less frequently and those who commute further. Some people like truckers, postal workers and UPS workers likely drive many more miles than that. Geography may also play a role, for example people in rural areas may drive much further than people in cities.

There can also be considerable disparity when it comes to age or sex. In 2009, according to the survey, women over age 65 only drove 19.3 miles per day, while men ages 36 to 64 drove 50.9 miles per day.

Even if “normal” people drive as little as DiCaprio thinks they do, that doesn’t necessarily mean they can all switch to electric vehicles (or that it would make financial sense to do it). Nevermind that running a car on electricity, isn’t the same as powering it on happy thoughts, it requires power, power that often comes from coal.

DiCaprio’s statements on driving and flying around the world to save the planet are either ignorant or completely hypocritical, since he and the environmentalist movement fight against the use of fossil fuels.

DiCaprio helped write and narrate "The 11th Hour," an environmental movie released in 2007.

Mike Ciandella
Mike Ciandella
Mike Ciandella is a staff writer for the Media Research Center's Business & Media Institute.