Waiheke goes electric with its bus fleet but...
Updated: Dec 4, 2020
Alex Braae recently covered the launch of Waiheke's new electric bus fleet on The Spinoff. While exciting, the move by Auckland City appears to be aspirational rather than signalling the beginning of a material downward trend in the transport emissions of the city. As Alex points out in his article, transport accounts for 43% of emissions but the current bus fleet is only responsible for 1% of those. A sizable chunk of those transport emissions will come from car trips, most (around 2/3rds) with only one occupant in the car.
If you measure your carbon emissions using our carbon calculator you will generally find that car travel will be responsible for a sizable chunk those. Popping down to the local car dealership and buying an EV is not a viable option for most of us and, if we are realistic, it is probably not going to be an option any time soon (if ever) for any number of reasons such as; availability, cost, limited charging infrastructure and generation capacity to power any material transition to an electric car fleet. In the post vaccination Covid era, some will be reluctant to embrace public transport but there are still options for reducing your car related emissions.
Think before you drive: could this trip be avoided with better planning? i.e., that trip to the supermarket for a couple of items. Could I walk or cycle? Is it absolutely critical to complete it today?
Consider car pooling - not just for work but what about for that weekly shop - coordinate it to go with a friend or neighbour.
Are you able to work from home for a couple of days a week? Employers may be more receptive given the recent Covid experience.
Do you need multiple cars in your household with their associated on-road costs? Could you make household car use more efficient? One car is less pressure on the household earnings than two or three.
Next time you replace the car; if an EV is still not an option, go for fuel efficiency rather than looks. Will a smaller, fuel efficient (and cheaper) car get the kids to school as effectively as that heavy SUV that may actually be lethal should a child unexpectedly runs across the road in front of you. Do you need to drop the kids off at school? Could they walk or cycle or, can you time your (and their) daily exercise around school start and finish - it is good for everyone. If more people did this there would be less vehicle traffic around the school to pose a danger (your reason for driving them?) to the children attending.
When you consider shifting house, think before you move any further away from your place of employment and or services such as supermarkets. We have hit peak petrol so, apart from the emissions, it is unlikely to get any cheaper to run a vehicle and, as motoring costs rise, the value of those outlying houses may fall.