Along with food, and home heating, transport is a big eco cost for everyone, so I thought I would do a quick bit of thinking about transport and you can add your own views. First, I need to say that personal transport will never be an absolute on eco costs. So much depends on one thing or another. In the end you have to decide what your ‘budget’ spend on transport is and try to keep to it.
So let’s consider a few options for transport:
Flying: I cannot think how flying is not a high eco cost, so frivolous journeys any where and time cannot be very considerate to the planet. But cutting off contact between people around the world could be more dangerous, we need to connect and feel empathy for people elsewhere, most of whom don’t have our kind of lifestyle, so maybe all we can do is minimise our travel where we can and push for as environmentally friendly planes as we can create.
Trains: The fact that trains are taking more passengers than ever and run pretty full trains a lot of the time must mean they are pretty good for the planet, where journeys are needed. Cut price tickets (you can get some real bargains from trainline.com) do mean a lot of these journeys would not be made if the tickets were more expensive, so full trains is not necessarily more ‘green’, so we have to be careful about this. Also, Government plans for high speed trains to shorten journeys times by a relatively small amount seem not planet friendly at all. It almost seems that because trains are seen as green then anything goes, well, it does not!
Buses: Not unreasonable, one would think, to believe that buses are very green, lots of passengers per gallon of fuel, but of course much of the time you see almost empty buses running, some of them ‘Not in Service’. Also, free bus passes are great, but if lots of extra journeys are made by bus because it is free for some of us then that does not make them more green, does it?
The other side of bus travel is that many older local buses are pretty poor compared to well kept modern buses. We can still see buses pumping out soot, so if the Government encouraged us to get rid of our old cars because they were inefficient, should they not also get rid of old buses?
Cars: Two things should be considered in working out how green you are in car use. One is manufacturing. In your lifetime, the more new cars you buy the more CO2 is used, but of course many would say that you need to count who uses the car after you sell it, so that should count too. but it seems not unreasonable to say that building cars for them to park on the streets for most of every day does not seem very green. So car sharing has to be better, yes?
Chichester is starting a car sharing Community Car Club, and you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more. But hiring cars rather than buying is also an option we should maybe think of more often. Some local car hire companies have a pick up service, and if you have a regular arrangement I would think the cost can easily be made less than buying a second car, for example. And more fun! You can have different cars for different journeys!
The second consideration is the vehicle type, and we have never had more options, petrol, diesel, duel fuel/hybrid, electric and maybe some time soon hydrogen powered. Costs per mile on the new electric charging schemes being adopted seem to be so low I am not sure why we are not all looking at this option more. At 140p per litre the diesel machine is costing you 14p per mile, electric cars look like costing 2p per mile. How green they are depends on how electricity is generated, but if you combine electric car charge with community car club and surely you have a real eco winner?
OK, so that is a few ways of getting around. What about cycling and walking, running, skateboards, and sailing? More later! Please contribute to this discussion. The solutions society adopts depends partly on how we behave. There is not a single eco figure for a way of getting around in any method, it depends how we use what we have. So we need to talk about this, don’t we?