One of the biggest ways in which we contribute to climate change in our daily lives is how we travel. Transport is the third biggest contributor to Australia’s carbon footprint, generating 17% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the country.
In order to meet the challenge of climate change, we need to rethink the ways we get around. Below are just a few of the ways you can reduce the environmental impact when you’re getting from A to B.
1. Drive more efficiently
With over 19.8 million vehicles on the road in Australia, a good starting point for reducing emissions is to make sure they’re driven more efficiently. Particular driving techniques can greatly increase fuel efficiency, meaning your car uses less fuel and produces fewer emissions as a result.
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Hard acceleration, sudden braking, and traveling at high speeds all waste fuel and increases your emissions, so driving more carefully is a good way to reduce your carbon footprint. You should also reduce your time spent idling, using automatic engine stop/start systems if your car has them.
Another way to drive more efficiently is to simply get a more fuel-efficient car. The Green Vehicle Guide offers comparisons on fuel efficiency and eco-friendliness for every car sold in Australia, so if you’re in the market for a new car, check out the GVG first to compare which your most environmentally friendly options are.
2. Switch to an electric vehicle
Electric cars are on the rise, and they bring with them the opportunity for a low carbon alternative to traditional gas-guzzling vehicles.
As well as being more environmentally friendly, they also have a number of other benefits, such as lower maintenance costs and being cheaper to run thanks to using electricity instead of petrol.
More and more different models of electric vehicles are entering the market, meaning there’s sure to be one that suits your needs as a motorist. The one factor that might put you off an electric vehicle is that they tend to be more expensive than normal cars.
However, the higher price of an electric vehicle is often worth it thanks to the environmental benefits and the long-term savings on fuel and maintenance.
3. Share a car to share the emissions (and the cost)
Another popular way of reducing your carbon footprint when driving is to travel with others. You could offer to take turns driving to work with colleagues, or you could look to the various carpooling and ride-sharing services on offer to find an arrangement that suits you.
Carpooling has other benefits. If you split fuel and other travel costs with your fellow passengers, you could save a lot of money.
On top of this, the more people who decide to share a lift, the fewer cars there are on the road, which means less traffic. Not only does carpooling help the environment, but it also helps everyone to get where they need to go that little bit faster.
4. Make use of public transport
On the same principle as carpooling, taking public transport essentially splits the carbon footprint of the journey between everyone on board.
Increased use of public transport has a huge potential for reducing the environmental impact of transport — estimates predict up to a 65% reduction in emissions by taking vehicles off the road during peak times.
Taking those cars off the road has other benefits as well. Relying on public transport instead of personal vehicles would mean less noise pollution, safer roads for both pedestrians and drivers, and as with carpooling, could lead to reductions in traffic to boot.
Taking different modes of public transport to get to work, events, and social gatherings all adds to reducing the carbon footprint on the planet and maintaining a healthier air pollution reading.
5. Walk or cycle whenever possible
Perhaps the simplest and cheapest solution to reducing your travel emissions is to walk or bike for short journeys instead of taking the car. Instead of wasting fuel for a 10-minute drive, hop on your bike or take a leisurely stroll instead.
At the same time as saving the environment, you’ll save money on fuel, and you’ll also enjoy the health benefits of regular exercise.