How to cut your vehicle’s impact on Penzance
The reality of living in Cornwall is that most of us do still need a car. The reality of the climate and ecological crisis is that we need to cut traditional car travel by 85% to be anywhere near hitting Cornwall’s Carbon Neutral target of 2030.
Public transport schemes are coming through – things like reduced bus fares (the £5 Cornwall day rover and the £2.50 Penzance day ticket) and better co-ordination of bus and train timetables. Provision for cycling is improving with more shelters, the e-bike hire scheme and the Healthy Streets PZ working to create safer cycling and pedestrian routes in town.
41% of car journeys in the area are less than 5k. For those of us who are able to, choosing to walk or cycle or hop on the bus all day for £2.50 is slowly but surely becoming a more viable option.
When we do need to use the car, here are our three top tips for reducing impact, including the impact of rising fuel costs on our pockets:
We’ve all been there – popped to the shops in the car, got home and realised we need to collect a parcel. So we pop to the post office in the car. Get home … and an hour later we need to go and collect the kids or run our parents somewhere. By grouping errands, trips and the commute we can save a load of carbon and money, and save ourselves from feeling like we’re boomeranging around from one thing to the next. In this scenario it could look like picking up the parcel on the way to collect/drop off a family member and doing the shop on the way home.
It can also look like grouping car depend errands into the commute and leaving a little later or earlier. Or just listing them all in a logical order and doing a big loop of errands. Shorter stop/start journeys have the biggest impact on air quality and our wallets and our time. Why not give it a go?
Businesses: Talking to your suppliers and fellow businesses about grouping deliveries and collections can be beneficial. Grouping your own business journeys and deliveries together also helps.
Look around you when you’re out and about and notice how many cars have just one person in them. Then think about how much less traffic, fumes, hold ups and noise there would be if just two of those people hopped in together – halving the amount of single occupant cars. It used to be a luxury to own a car and neighbours and family would give lifts and share the wheels. Now it’s not uncommon for households to have two cars, or more. Everyone taking individual journeys.
See if you can build more lift shares into your life, for work, for nights out, days out, shopping trips. It won’t work all the time … but some of the time is better than nothing. Who knows, coupled with improvements to public transport, cycle safe streets and things like car clubs … we may decide we don’t need that second or third car at home.
Businesses: Carshare groups are very common in workplaces now, especially as businesses are preparing for when they have to report on their carbon emissions. What’s App groups are the easiest way to get staff connected to each other or staff from other nearby businesses. Or you could set up a shared document for people to link up in. Check out the Pasty Connection too, for short or longer journeys.
When we do need to drive, putting in place some really simple tweaks to the way we drive can save masses of fuel and therefore money and emissions. We did one of these courses a few years ago and you can save between 10 – 33% on fuel use and therefore costs.
We’ve taken these tips from The Energy Saving Trust and RAC and you can read up on them yourself here
- drive smoothly, accelerate gently, decelerate smoothly and read the road ahead to avoid braking unnecessarily.
- stopping then starting again uses more fuel than rolling. Slow early for traffic lights or approaching a queue and you might not have to stop completely.
- change up gear earlier – since 2014 new car models have been fitted with a gear shift indicator to encourage use of the most efficient gear.
- save air-con for high speed driving. Open windows and don’t leave it on all the time. Running it at least once a week helps keep the system in good condition.
- turn off your rear window heater, demister fan and headlights when you don’t need them
- stick to the speed limit. Drive at 70mph and you’ll use up to 9% more than at 60mph and up to 15% more than at 50mph. Taking it up to 80mph can use up to 25% more fuel than at 70mph.
Businesses: There are some great driving for business courses out there that can help you make massive carbon and costs savings on your fleet. You can also enroll staff to help them cut their commuting impact.