Concerned about the carbon footprint you are leaving when you drive? Fear not. You can positively contribute to efforts towards carbon reduction.
It’s much easier than you think to achieve carbon neutrality as a motorist. The government won’t be asking you to get rid of your fossil fuel car for an electric vehicle.
There are some simple steps you can take to reduce your emissions and contribute to the government’s Net Zero target.
Firstly, what is the government’s Net Zero target?
The government has developed an ambitious plan, called NetZero Strategy: Build Back Greener, to help the UK reach net zero by 2050 through a number of carbon offset schemes. Net-zero, simply put, is when the amount of co2 we emit as a country is equal to the amount we offset.
What does this mean for citizens and drivers of the UK?
The plan mainly focuses on getting high emitting companies/industries to reduce their co2 emissions, however, some tactics will filter down to the individual motorist.
You may have noticed some congestion charges being introduced where you live, and if you haven’t you can find out which UK towns and cities will face a congestion charge here.
For full details of the government’s net zero strategy for 2021 read the UK government’s Net Zero Strategy document
How does carbon offsetting work?
According to the UK Environmental Agency, ‘Offsetting’ involves permanently removing greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere, usually through creating or restoring habitats that absorb emissions, or through reducing the rate of emissions from degraded landscapes.
Carbon offsetting has a big part to play in the government’s strategy. The Environmental Agency believes that a combination of tactics to reduce carbon emissions and tactics to offset carbon emissions is the most effective way forward. And motorists can help contribute towards this very easily. Here are 3 simple ways you can help.
1) Calculate your car’s carbon footprint
As a starting point, we recommend calculating your car’s carbon footprint.
What is a carbon footprint? The Oxford Dictionary defines a carbon footprint as, the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organization, or community.
We believe this definition to be broad and intimidating to most people, forcing us to ask the question ‘where do we start?’.
It can be refreshing to hear that even those who drive fossil fuel cars can achieve carbon neutrality very easily. The Carbon Footprint company believes this to be true and are helping drivers to understand how they can help reduce co2 in other ways.
They operate several projects which offset carbon emissions and the idea is that companies and individuals donate towards their efforts.All motorists can find out what their footprint is through their carbon footprint calculator. Be on your way to offsetting emissions in seconds!
2) Focus on offsetting your carbon emissions in the UK
There are the giants of the fossil fuel world such as Shell and BP, whose carbon offsetting programmes are operated on a global scale, however, to be sure your efforts are supporting the UK strategy it makes sense to be part of UK efforts.
Donate to the Woodland Trust
There are thousands of woodlands that are protected in the UK by the Woodland Trust. Many people don’t know that woodland areas absorb and lock up many tonnes of carbon each year in trees, shrubs and soils. With this in mind, donating to the efforts to preserve our woodlands would be a fantastic start.
Why not make a Woodland Trust donation to help preserve our beautiful woodlands.
2) Partner with UK Initiatives
If you own a UK business, the Environmental Agency recommends partnering with a UK based organisation that focuses on restoring our natural habitats.
Here are two recommended organisations to partner with:
3) Reduce your driving emissions
Reducing your driving emissions is not only good for the environment, it’s good for your pocket. If you are the driver of a fossil fuel car, you can use these simple measures to save co2’s and £s.
- Check your tyre pressure – Research from UK tyre manufacturing company Michelin showed that tyres which are 20% under-inflated will reduce the economy by around 20%. This is because the lower the tyre pressure, the more power is needed to move the car.
- Shift up early to a higher gear – Aim to change up a gear at around 2,000rpm as driving at lower revs can help to reduce fuel consumption.
- Stick to the speed limit (or less) – Speeding up requires power, which burns more fuel. Slowing down uses the brakes, which give off harmful brake-dust particles.
- Service your car regularly – a fresh set of spark plugs, and a clean air filter can help your car run cleaner and burn fuel more efficiently. If you’re on a budget you can replace the air filter yourself in 15 minutes or less: you’ll just need to make sure you have the right tools.
- Use better fuel – Better fuel contains active cleaning agents to remove dirt from the engine, which should improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.
By taking these simple steps, and supporting plans to Build Back Greener, you can play your part in reducing carbon emissions. You can be looking after your car and reducing your emissions at the same time.
Expert advice from our CEO
We highly recommend regularly servicing your car to reduce the chance of breakdown and part failure, particularly as cars are becoming increasingly complicated and expensive to fix. Our CEO, Lawrence Whittaker, talks in detail about the future of the used car industry and the importance of looking after your vehicle in the Don’t Tell Your Mum Podcast.
The Don’t Tell Your Mum Podcast, hosted by Heart Radio DJ JK & Dadsnet’s founder, Al, is a conversation about fatherhood that all dads (& mums) should be a part of. Featuring high-profile dads including Joe Wicks, Justin Timberlake, Russel Kane, the Jonas Brothers, Romesh Ranganathan, Bill Bailey, Tom Hanks, Ross Kemp, Bob Mortimer, Paul Whitehouse, Milton Jones, Matt Coyne & Joel Condor.