The great love affair between humanity and their cars goes some way to explaining this discrepancy in environmental achievement, and while low hanging fruit like coal use has easily been reduced, vehicle emissions are harder to tackle.
From 2018-2019, the last period unaffected by the pandemic, 83% of miles travelled in the UK were done in a car, van or taxi, while the majority of British households still own a car and 25 million own two or more. On a more positive note, electric vehicle (EV) sales are on the up with just over 12% of new vehicle registrations now battery powered.
Petrol and diesel car sales will be banned from 2030, and grants are in place to help with the cost of buying and running a battery powered vehicle. However, critics say that the government is over reliant on the EV switch and is avoiding the tough decisions on curbing traffic and encouraging active travel.
With this in mind, GoEco’s March challenge is to encourage you to rethink the way you travel. 50% of travellers use their car for a journey which is 2km or less, so this month try to think creatively about how you get around.
1 – Active Travel
Are you driving to the supermarket every day? Or driving to work when you don’t need to? Do you pick your kids up from school every day when they could walk?
For active travel we want you to think about replacing any short journeys you use your car for with a walk instead. We know it’s less convenient, but we think you’ll find it enjoyable, and once you’ve taken the first step (pun intended) you might find your car use overall reduces dramatically as your habits start to change. Whats more, getting more steps in everyday can have huge benefits for your mental and physical wellbeing.
Cycling is also a great way of getting around, which is good for the environment and your health. We appreciate that not everybody is a confident cyclist, but a good way to start is actively seeking out safe cycle routes in your area which will help you navigate your way around on a bike.
One final step for active travel is getting engaged with discussions around low-traffic neighbourhoods. Encouraging active travel is as much about changes to our infrastructure as it is about individual choice so start those conversations with your friends and neighbours today!
2 – Public Transport
Opting for public transport rather than using your car can have a huge impact on your carbon footprint, be it bus, train or tram.
Abandoning the comfort of your car may be a step too far, so why not ease yourself in with just one or two days a week? If you’re a bit map-phobic and keen to avoid the tedium of researching routes and lines, use public transport for your regular trips such as to work or school, and keep your car and sat nav for the ad-hoc journeys.
3 – Could You Carpool?
Many of us drive in our separate cars to the same destination, without giving a thought to who may be en route. Although not quite to the degree of public transport, carpooling helps to reduce emissions by reducing the number of vehicles on the road.
Check with your nearby work colleagues to see if they would be up for it, or find out whether your kids classmates live locally enough for a carpool. Not only will you be helping the environment, it could save you the trouble and cost of a fair few journeys too!
4 – Rethink Your Car
This is more of a long term decision, but it’s time to consider ditching your combustion engine car for an electric vehicle. We don’t want to encourage unnecessary waste, so of course you should carry on using your current car for as long as it’s viable, but having a plan in place for when it’s run out of mileage (pun intended, again) is essential for the post-petroleum age. Do some research into the market, and have a read of the electric cars we recommend.
Electric vehicles are the future of car travel, so it’s not a bad idea to get ahead of the game today!