Is online shopping better for the environment than going to the store?

The shiny new pair of Bose headphones you bought online just arrived in the mail. You break the seal of a huge corrugated cardboard box and tear through multiple layers of packaging. You immediately feel a pang of guilt. Could your Amazon addiction be bad for the environment?

You can rest easy. The carbon emissions linked to that cardboard box, and the freight truck it came in, are far less than that of hopping in your car and driving to the store. Unless that is, the store is on your way to work or school. And if you got rush shipping, or decide to return them, the carbon emissions you saved revert back to zero.