Getting About and Driving
Transport is a major source of carbon dioxide emissions for most of us, as travel is an integral part of our daily lives. This section covers land transport (car, train, bus etc.); flying is covered here.
Getting about and driving tips:
The average distance travelled to work continues to rise, we tend to live further from family and friends, and shops are increasingly located in out-of-town shopping centres.
The most substantial cuts in transport-related carbon dioxide emissions can be made by travelling less, and then travelling by public transport rather than car. However, this is not always practicable. If you do need to drive, you can do so more efficiently by improving your driving technique, taking passengers, combining errands and switching to a more efficient car.
In the UK, about 10% of the average person’s carbon dioxide emissions are due to travel by car and public transport.
Travel by bus or train generally emits less carbon dioxide per person than driving alone, although if you carry passengers the emissions per person are proportionately less. A small car carrying four people can have lower emissions per person than public transport.
Petrol and diesel prices have generally risen over recent years and seem destined to rise further as oil becomes harder to find and more expensive to extract. Our tips can help you to use your car more efficiently and so reduce your fuel costs.
There are many costs of running a car besides fuel, including insurance, road tax and maintenance. Once these have been factored in, public transport can often be a cheaper option, particularly if you make the most of the discounts available.
Many of our roads today are congested – this causes delays, stressful journeys and air pollution. Driving less will help to ease these problems.
When travelling by public transport, you can use the time to read, work or doze.
Walking or cycling for short journeys is a good way of getting regular exercise, can help you lose weight and is good for your mental wellbeing. For even more reasons to cycle visit ibike. A journey by bicycle can sometimes take less time door-to-door than driving!
1. Reduce the distance you travel
Try to make fewer journeys, for example by running two or more errands in a single trip.
Ask your employer if you can work from home, perhaps one day a week.
When planning a day out, or choosing where to shop, opt for somewhere closer to home.
If possible, when changing jobs, look for something reasonably near to your home. You may even be able to work from home. Alternatively, when moving house, choose somewhere closer to work, or at least where good public transport can replace a commute by car.
Travelling less will reduce your carbon dioxide emissions – not making a journey is the only way to completely eliminate the emissions associated with it!
Travelling less will give you more time to do other things. Getting about can be tiring and stressful, particularly during the rush hour, so making fewer and/or shorter journeys can improve your quality of life.
2. Walk or cycle for short journeys
About a quarter of all car journeys are less than 2 miles in length. Rather than go by car, try walking or cycling instead.
People are designed for walking: it’s the most natural exercise there is! Most people can walk at around 3 miles per hour. Doctors recommend that you exercise for 30 minutes five days a week; that could equate to walking three-quarters of a mile to and from work each day. Try getting off the bus or tube one stop short of your normal stop, or walk to the local shop or school.
If you don’t have a bike, borrow one from the Bikeabout scheme run by Community First and Winchester City Council. There is a hire charge of £10 per day, and cycle helmets and high visibility jackets can also be hired.
Get your employer to sign up to a scheme like the Cycle Scheme and you and your work colleagues could get tax free bikes, typically saving you 25% of the cost of a new (or reconditioned) bike. Alternatively ask your local bike shop whether they are part of the scheme.
Although many journeys are short ones, they form only a relatively small proportion of the total distance travelled and so the savings that can be made are fairly modest – perhaps 55 kg to 80 kg per person per year on average. These savings will be reduced if you eat more as a result to replace lost energy!
Running a car typically costs about 25 pence a mile for fuel, maintenance and parking (but around twice as much when all costs are factored in), and more for shorter journeys as cars use fuel less efficiently if the engine hasn’t warmed up. Walking rather than driving for just two 1-mile journeys a week might save you £25 or more a year.
There are many health benefits of walking and cycling. They can increase your fitness, help you lose weight and improve your mental wellbeing.
Our town and city centres are often congested, sometimes making it faster to cycle or walk. Cars making short journeys contribute to that congestion and also to pollution. Less traffic would improve air quality, reduce noise and make our streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
3. Use public transport
For longer journeys, use public transport where possible. Just making one journey a week by public transport rather than by car will reduce your carbon footprint.
Public transport has improved significantly over recent years. Trains, buses and coaches are often punctual, modern, clean and comfortable these days – if you haven’t tried them recently, give them a go and you might be pleasantly surprised!
Traveline helps you plan local and national journeys using public transport.
You can plan local journeys with Traveline South West. They provide impartial information on planning your journey, by bus, coach or train… or any combination of the three.
Pick up timetables and information on local buses and trains, as you and your family will be more likely to use them if you have up-to-date information close to hand.
Local bus information is available on the First, Stagecoach, BlueStar and Wilts and Dorset websites or from Winchester bus station and bus stops. Local train information is available on the South West Trains website, including real time departure information, and free timetables can be obtained from the larger stations. Cross Country Trains operate longer-distance services which stop in Winchester. Coach information and on-line booking are available from National Express which provides services from Basingstoke, Eastleigh and Winchester.
Using public transport rather than driving can significantly reduce your carbon dioxide emissions, particularly if you have a large car and don’t share it with passengers, as illustrated by the graph below. Ask your local car dealer for the emissions from your car (usually expressed in grammes per kilometre).
Running a car typically costs about 25 pence a mile for fuel, maintenance and parking (but see below). This can be comparable to public transport costs, particularly if you make the most of the discounts available. Click here for tips on finding the cheapest train tickets. National Express coaches are a cheap way to travel too and can be very convenient for certain routes e.g. from Winchester to Heathrow airport.
However, once you allow for other motoring costs such as insurance, road tax and depreciation in the value of your car, it can easily cost you 50 pence a mile or more to run a car, so public transport becomes far more attractive. If your household owns more than one car, ask yourself if you really need them all. If you are able to get rid of a car, and just hire one occasionally when needed, the savings could be substantial.
When travelling by public transport, you can use the time to read, work or doze, and don’t have to worry about parking. You also avoid the stress of driving in heavy traffic and it may be safer too. By not driving, you help to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality.
4. Drive efficiently
For many people, it is not practicable to live without a car. However, you can reduce your carbon dioxide emissions from driving by 10% to 15% simply by adopting a more efficient driving technique.
Avoid harsh braking and accelerating as this wastes fuel – keep your distance from the car in front and anticipate road conditions ahead.
Aim for moderate speeds of 35-60 mph – fuel economy usually drops off significantly at higher (and lower) speeds. You can consume up to 20% more fuel per mile when driving at 70 mph rather than 55 mph.
Keep in the highest gear possible consistent with being in control of your car.
Switch off the engine when stationary for more than a couple of minutes.
Don’t use air conditioning.
Remove roof racks etc., which cause drag, when not in use.
Check your tyres regularly to ensure they’re at the right pressure.
Find out more about efficient driving.
A typical car may be driven around 9000 miles a year and emit 0.29 kg of carbon dioxide per mile (0.18 kg per km). A 12.5% decrease in fuel consumption could save over 300 kg of carbon dioxide emissions a year. The less efficient your car, the more you could save.
If you drive 9000 miles a year and fuel costs 15 pence per mile, then a 12.5% decrease in fuel consumption would save you around £170 a year. With rising petrol prices, or a larger engine, the savings could be even greater.
Efficient driving can be safer and reduce the wear and tear on your car.
An easy way to reduce the number of journeys made by car is to give lifts to others, or take a lift yourself.
Register any journeys you make regularly on Hantscarshare.com to find other people who frequently do the same journey. You can ask for or offer lifts, and share petrol costs. You might want to inform your insurance company that you are car sharing, but most insurance policies should automatically cover you to carry passengers provided you are not making a profit.
Quite simply, if two people travel together, the carbon dioxide emissions per person are halved. Three or four people sharing a car is better still.
If you share lifts, you may be able to share the fuel costs between you.
Liftsharing reduces the number of cars on the roads - resulting in less congestion, less pollution and fewer parking problems.
6. If you replace your car, get a more efficient model
Next time you buy a car, choose one with low emissions - consult the Energy Saving Trust or the Environmental Transport Association for advice on buying an efficient car. You can get information on new car fuel consumption and exhaust emissions figures from the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) . EU regulations dictate that by 2020 the average new car will emit less than 95 gm CO2/km. In terms of carbon dioxide emissions, diesel is generally better than petrol, manual transmission is better than automatic, and the smaller the engine size the better.
However, a large amount of energy is used in manufacturing cars, so you probably shouldn’t buy a car sooner than you would otherwise have done just to upgrade to a more efficient model. Indeed, unless your car is very inefficient, it may be advisable to keep it until it really needs replacing. When you do replace your car, look for a second-hand one.
You can further reduce your carbon emissions from driving by opting for a dual fuel, electric or other alternative fuel car – click here for information.
Between 1997 and 2015, the average carbon dioxide emissions for new cars fell from 0.30 kg per mile to 0.19 kg per mile. Based on an average mileage of 9000 miles a year, this is a saving of about 1000 kg of carbon dioxide a year. However, manufacturing a car may generate at least 6000 kg of carbon dioxide, which is why you should wait until your car really needs replacing. Buying a second-hand car will avoid your personal contribution via such emissions, but someone else in the purchase chain may buy a new car as a result of you buying the second-hand car!
The most efficient cars may be dual fuel ones and these tend to cost more, as do diesel cars. However, small cars are generally more efficient than larger ones, and these tend to cost less.
If you choose a more efficient car, your running costs will be lower because it will use less fuel. You may also pay less, or even zero, road tax.
If you would like to give feedback on this site, or have any suggestions for improvement, please contact us. We are particularly keen to hear about other organisations and initiatives in and around Winchester which can help people reduce their carbon footprint.
The information on this page is provided in good faith and reflects our understanding of the underlying science and technology at the time of writing, but we cannot guarantee that it is wholly accurate. All figures for costs, savings and other matters are estimates: the actual figures will depend on your particular circumstances and may differ (perhaps significantly) from those shown. Although we have included links to various organisations, we are not recommending these organisations: it is your responsibility to check that they are suitable for your needs. Nonetheless, if you experience difficulties with any of the links or organisations, or believe that any of the information presented here is inaccurate, please let us know and we will update this page if we consider it necessary.