The Transport sector is the largest contributor to UK greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for a THIRD of all emissions in 2018.
A significant majority of these emissions are due to road transport. (The data also included domestic aviation but not international aviation.)
Globally, aviation accounts for 12% of CO2 emissions from all transport sources, with 74% coming from road transport.
Making changes in how you get around can significantly reduce your carbon impact on the planet.
Green Fact: Transport is the area where we have made the least progress in cutting emissions, with only a 2% reduction between 1990 and 2017.
Whether you fly for work or pleasure, air travel is probably responsible for the largest part of your carbon footprint.
These are some positive changes you can make to reduce your carbon emissions:
For shorter trips, travelling by alternative means (car, train, boat/ferry, coach) will almost certainly emit fewer greenhouse gases.
Eurostar trains from St Pancras, Ebbsfleet or Ashford International provide excellent connections to many European cities with journey times to Paris of two and a half hours and to Brussels of two hours. This can work out quicker and cheaper than flying, particularly if you can book your tickets in advance to take advantage of cheaper fares. Return tickets to Paris and Brussels start from £29. Visit https://www.eurostar.com/uk-en/train or the www.thetrainline.com, or download the app to buy tickets for Eurostar.
Alternatively you can take your car on the Eurotunnel for as little as £30 return. Visit https://www.eurotunnel.com/uk/tickets-and-fares/
Visit www.thetrainline.com , or download their app for domestic journeys by train.
Landings and take-offs are the most ‘fuel thirsty’ stages of any flight, so avoiding these will result in less emissions.
£££ Business class is responsible for almost three times as many emissions as economy because in economy, the flight’s carbon emissions are shared among more passengers. Flying 'First Class' can result in nine times more carbon emissions than economy.
Try to travel with the lightest luggage possible. Leave behind the things you can rent or borrow like sports equipment or bikes. Use your camera phone instead of lugging a camera as well. Most people overestimate the amount of clothes they need on holiday. Many hotels and resorts offer laundry services and using the local laundry services not only allows you to pack less but also supports the local economy, which is particularly important if you are visiting poorer regions of the world.
If you can’t avoid flying then you can offset the carbon emissions of your travel. Visit www.carbonfootprint.com and simply enter your departure and destination airports along with class of travel to calculate the CO2 generated. The site offers a choice of climate change projects that meet either the Voluntary Gold Standard (VGS) or Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS). You simply add the flight to your basket and checkout.
Getting Around on the Ground
Nearly a quarter of all car journeys are less than 2 miles and two thirds of all UK car journeys are under 5 miles. Short journeys made with cold engines are the most polluting. Driving your car less not only reduces CO2 emissions, but helps to reduce air pollution. Leaving the car at home also lessens traffic congestion and the idling engines that accompany this.
Green Fact: Reducing the mileage of the average new car from 15,000 to 10,000 miles a year will save more than a ton of CO2, about 15% of the average person’s footprint.
You can calculate your annual mileage from consecutive MOT certificates or service records. Use this to find out your weekly or monthly mileage and then see if you can reduce it.
You can also calculate your annual carbon emissions from driving by visiting www.carbonfootprint.com. Simply enter your vehicle model and the annual mileage into the on-line calculator.
These are some positive changes you can make to reduce your carbon emissions:
- £££ ZZZ Combine your trips. When doing errands, try to combine your trips to reduce the number of journeys you make.
- ZZZ Work from home. If you can manage it, working from home will dramatically reduce the number of journeys you have to take.
- £££ ZZZ Find a car share buddy. Try www.liftshare.com to register the journey you wish to share either as a driver or passenger or post your journey on the New Leaf Alresford Facebook page and see if you can find someone doing a similar commute to you. As well as being able to share the driving and fuel costs, you halve your CO2 emissions at the same time.
- £££ Try walking or cycling instead, it’s good for YOUR health as well as the planet’s. Cycling or walking offers time to ‘unwind’ from the working day and walking to and from school provides uninterrupted quality time to talk with your children. Even if you can’t walk or cycle the whole journey due to physical or time constraints, maybe you can park and walk part of the way - it beats being stuck in traffic.
According to Cycling UK only 2% of all journeys in England are taken by bike. E-bikes are hugely popular on the continent but the UK is behind the trend. E-bikes allow you to make longer commutes, pedal further in normal clothes without getting sweaty and give you a boost up hills. They are also great if you are not so fit, or disabled. Prices for e-bikes start at about £1,400. The government has just refreshed its ‘Cycle to Work Scheme’ extending the tax free savings to e-bikes over £1000 which have an electric motor, thereby extending opportunities for cycling. If you purchase through a Cycle to Work Scheme you can save 42% - see our ‘At Work' section for more information on this.
- To plan a bus journey visit https://www.stagecoachbus.com/ and enter your starting point and destination. Traveling by bus avoids the hassles and costs of parking. Unfortunately our local bus routes are not cheap; a return ticket from Alresford to Winchester is £7.30 but weekly and monthly tickets offer a discount. The last bus home from Alton Station on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday night is at 23:15, and from Winchester Broadway at 23.20 and costs just £2.50 per person (Nightrider ticket, single or return £2.50 after 7pm). This is a lot cheaper than a taxi if you fancy a night out!
- You can travel part of your journey by bus by taking advantage of Park & Ride schemes. The Winchester Park & Ride costs £3 for all day parking (£2.50 if you arrive after 10:30 and free if you arrive after 4pm). Buses into the city run every 7 minutes at peak times and every 12 minutes at quieter times. Visit https://www.winchester.gov.uk/parking/park-and-ride/ for more information.
- For travelling further a field in Hampshire visit https://myjourneyhampshire.com/ for bike, bus and train routes and times.
- To plan train journeys use www.thetrainline.com , or download their app. Consider booking in advance for cheaper fares (also check www.virgintrains.co.uk ) and invest in a railcard, which can pay for itself in savings after only a few journeys. Journeys originating in Alton are often cheaper than those starting from Winchester.
Zipcar is the worlds largest car sharing club and offers an alternative to car ownership or leasing. The scheme gives you all the perks and freedoms of owning a car without the hassle and cost of running one. Fuel, car tax, insurance, congestion charge and 24/7 assistance are all included in the price. Some members report overall savings of around £300 per month. It is good for the environment as each zipper replaces 13 personally owned vehicles and offers a more affordable way to drive an electric vehicle. The vehicles are modern and well maintained, and the UK Zipcar fleet will be fully electric by 2025. Annual membership costs £59.60 or £6 per month, and rental rates start from £5 per hour or £44 per day (£7 per hour for an electric vehicle). You can book cars on demand, by the hour or day, using the app and you use your membership card to access the vehicle. Zipcar is available in London, Bristol, Oxford, Maidstone and Cambridge as well as cities across the globe. Visit https://www.zipcar.com/en-gb/how-it-works to find out more about the Zipcar Scheme.
- When its time to change your car remember to consider a vehicles 'green credentials' when making your selection. Vehicle Excise Duty is already linked to a vehicle's greenhouse gas emissions and a number of cities including Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Bath and Oxford are planning on introducing emission zone charging with more cities bound to follow. Selecting a 'low emissions' vehicle could save you money in the long run and the vehicle is likely to have a higher residual value.
- ***Buy an Electric or Hybrid Car.
If you are shopping for a new car, consider purchasing a hybrid or electric vehicle - but remember to factor in the greenhouse gas emissions from the production of the car as well as its operation. Some electric vehicles are initially responsible for more emissions than internal combustion engine vehicles because of manufacturing impacts; but they make up for it after three years. Try the car emissions calculator on www.nextgreencar.com to compare the direct and indirect emissions generated during production.
Green Fact: the European Federation of Transport and Environment found that over its lifetime, a battery electric car produces 50% less emissions than an average EU car today.
Energy Efficient Driving
A few years ago, the Automobile Association asked 50 staff to take part in an ‘eco driving trial’. During the first week staff were asked to drive normally, then follow eco driving advice in the second week. On average participants saved 10% on their weekly fuel bills by following the advice. The best saved an impressive 33%.
Here are their tips for fuel efficient driving:
- Get your car serviced regularly for best efficiency.
- Always use the right specification of engine oil (check your handbook).
- Check your tyre pressures regularly and before long journeys – under-inflated tyres will result in you using more fuel.
- Save weight – extra weight means extra fuel so if you don’t need it, take it out.
- Cut drag – roof-racks and boxes add to your fuel consumption.
- Don’t hang around – idling wastes fuel and your engine warms up more quickly when you are moving so don’t start the engine until you’re ready to go.
- De-icing – scrape ice in the winter rather than leave your car idling to warm up.
- Plan your journey – getting lost wastes fuel. Check traffic news before you go or use traffic apps like Googlemaps or Waze.
- Combine short trips – cold starts use more fuel so it pays to combine trips if you can.
- Smooth and gentle – drive smoothly, accelerate gently and read the road ahead to avoid braking unnecessarily. Decelerate smoothly by releasing the accelerator in time, leaving the car in gear.
- Keep rolling – stopping then starting again uses more fuel than rolling. Slow early for traffic lights or approaching a queue and you might not have to stop completely.
- Change up earlier – don't labour the engine but try changing up at an engine speed of around 2,000 rpm (diesel) or 2,500 (petrol). Since 2014 new car models have been fitted with a gear shift indicator to encourage use of the most efficient gear.
- Use your air-con wisely – at low speeds, air-con increases fuel consumption but at higher speeds the effect is less noticeable. Try opening the windows around town and save the air-con for high speed driving. Don't leave it on all the time but running it at least once a week helps keep the system in good condition.
- Cut down on the electrics – turn off your rear window heater, demister fan and headlights when you don't need them.
- Stick to the limit – going faster uses more fuel. Drive at 70mph and you’ll use up to 9% more than at 60mph and up to 15% more than at 50mph. Taking it up to 80mph can use up to 25% more fuel than at 70mph.
Unless your car has an automatic stop/start system, don’t switch off to save fuel unless your engine is warm, you expect not to move for 3 minutes or so (at a level crossing for example) and you know you’ve got a good battery.
Cars with 'stop/start' have uprated components and systems to make sure the engine only stops if it will restart.
It used to be quite common to try to save fuel by rolling downhill out of gear but this is not recommended as you don’t have full control. Coasting won't save you fuel these days either - fuel and ignition systems are effectively combined and controlled by one Electronic Control Unit (ECU). When you take your foot off the accelerator the ECU cuts the fuel supply to the injectors anyway so there's nothing to be gained by coasting.
Final Travel Tips
- Take a refillable water bottle and coffee cup with you when travelling. Locate outlets where you can get a free water refills using www.refill.org.uk.
- Consider taking reusable lightweight (wooden) cutlery.
- Take an extra canvas bag or two – they don’t take up much space or weight and you can avoid unnecessary plastic bags.
- Avoid hotel miniature toiletries, they are an unnecessary single-use plastic.