Car Transport

In its section on Clean and Sustainable  Travel, the Waverley Climate Emergency Action Plan tells us that across the borough, transport accounts for the highest level of direct emissions of carbon dioxide, as well as most of the gases and particles which cause local air pollution. 261 kilotons of carbon dioxide were produced across the whole borough in 2016  (UK local authority and regional carbon dioxide emissions national statistics: 2005 to 2017) - 42% of the net emissions produced. As identified by the Climate Change Commission, to become carbon neutral the council in conjunction with the Government, Surrey County Council and the residents of Waverley need to: 

  • Reduce car mileage by 10% by optimizing the opportunities to switch to walking, cycling, public transport and car sharing by 2030.​

  • Facilitate the transition to electric vehicles by the provision of the necessary chargers by the Council, through planning requirements and encouraging local businesses to install workplace chargers.

electric-car-charge-point-installation-g

The ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel car sales has been brought forward to 2030, with new hybrid car sales outlawed from 2035.

The ban is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve local air quality. Petrol cars emit carbon dioxide, while diesel vehicles produce nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, which have been linked to increased risk of respiratory illnesses, lung cancer, heart disease and many other conditions.

But buying/building new electric cars carries a very high carbon footprint. Car makers are under increasing pressure as far as environmental credentials go  with the focus now on how much damage is done to the environment throughout the production process, from the power used by factories to whether parts and materials have been ethically sourced ( See the Sunday Times article on Five ways car makers are becoming kinder to the environment and Industry Week’s article on Lithium Batteries). And those who need to drive long distances still have concerns on the range of electric vehicles and current availability of charging points.

 

Other solutions to reducing carbon dixide emissions from the cars that we drive could result from investigations into ways to refurbish existing petrol and diesel engine cars with electric or alternative energy and research into the use of hydrogen technology as a fuel source for vehicles.

 

So what can we all do in the short term to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions from our household’s travel  by car – especially if our careful analysis of all the influencing factors indicate that it is not yet time to buy a new electric car?

  • Can I work from home more instead of driving to work?

  • Can I car-share/car pool?

  • Think about using public transport – bus or train, whenever you can (though in a rural area with limited services, this is sometimes not feasible).

  • If it’s a nice day, why not walk to the local shop or to take the children to school?

  • Could you cycle there instead?

  • Do you need to take several car journeys on the same day?

  • Combine your shopping trips by car into one or two a week.

 

If you are thinking of buying a new or second-hand car:

  

  • Do you really need a second household car?

  • Do you really need a 4x4 or SUV? Growing demand for SUVs was the second largest contributor to the increase in global carbon dioxide emissions from 2010 to 2018, an analysis has found. And better small car efficiency has been more than offset by worsening emissions from large cars.

  • Do you really need to get to 60 mph in 5 seconds, or less?

  • Don’t just accept manufactures claims, especially on hybrid cars. Do your own research.