Making personal transport greener

What is eco-fuel?

A new eco-friendly vehicle fuel is coming to our petrol stations this month as part of the UK’s climate commitment which aims to reduce carbon emissions by 78% by 2035. 

Although not widely publicised, the new fuel known as E10, has less carbon and more ethanol than other fuels and is planned to become the new standard grade petrol. Current petrol grades in the UK - known as E5 - have around 5% ethanol and 95% standard fuel meaning they contain more oil derived fossil fuels than E10 which has 10% ethanol.      

Why use E10 petrol? 

Private transport is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gasses and emissions are rising every year. The average car in the UK produces around 180g of Co2 every kilometre meaning over the course of a year, your vehicle will produce somewhere between 2 and 3 tonnes of carbon. This figure will of course vary with the size and type of your vehicle.

Because E10 contains higher proportions of ethanol, which is a plant based alcohol, less fossil fuels are used in its production, meaning lower emission and less impact on climate change. Using E10 is expected to reduce carbon emissions by three-quarters of a million tonnes a year, equivalent to taking 350,000 cars off of UK roads.

Will my vehicle run on E10?

All vehicles manufactured after 2011 should run on E10 fuel. However, older vehicles, numbering in the region of 600,000 on UK roads, are not thought to be compatible with the new fuel. If in doubt, the government has set up a website where you can check to see if your vehicle is compatible with E10     

While the use of E10 fuel will go some way to reduce the carbon footprint of your personal vehicle usage, it forms only a small part of the solution. Here are some further tips that will help you reduce the carbon footprint of your personal travel.  

5 tips to reduce the carbon footprint of your personal travel

1. Use an electric car 

While electric vehicles are a significant investment, their impact on the environment is also significant. Electric cars emit around a third of the Co2 of an average petrol car in the UK. It’s worth noting that the amount of carbon they contribute is dependent on how much fossil fuels are used to produce the electricity which subsequently powers the car.  

2. Walk or cycle shorter journeys 

In England, it’s estimated that 60% of short journeys (up to 2 miles) that could be made on foot or on a bike are driven in the car. The impact of walking is not only good for the environment but it also bolsters wellbeing and allows you to get your daily step count in. The school run, shopping trips, and either end of a daily commute are perfect opportunities for a stroll. 

3. Offset the carbon of your car travel 

One of the easiest ways to offset the carbon footprint of your personal vehicle is by switching your home energy supplier to a renewable tariff. By switching to green energy, the average household will save around 3.2 tonnes of CO2 every year, which nicely offsets the 2 - 3 tonnes of Co2 produced by an average vehicle over the same period.

4. Use public transport

Travelling on a bus will reduce your carbon footprint by around 50% (82g Co2/km) when compared to single occupancy car travel. A coach produces even lower emissions as it stops less frequently and maintains more speed consistency than buses. Taxis on the other hand are worse than using your own vehicle (210g Co2/km) due to increased amount of passenger-free driving while waiting for fares.

5. Change online shopping delivery habits   

This one doesn’t relate to personal travel but is impactful nonetheless. The logistics of getting the items you buy online to your door have a big impact on transport emissions. When shopping try and avoid individual one-day deliveries, or opt for companies that deliver using low carbon transport or carbon offset schemes. Some companies even reward you for grouping your deliveries into a single day. 

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