03 December 2011 by Julienne du Toit

Drive Carbon Neutral

Climate change is top of mind at the moment, especially now with all the clamour around the 17th Conference of the Parties of the Kyoto Protocol in Durban.

As a traveller, what can you do to minimise your carbon impact? One of the biggest ways is through transport. Yes, plant trees to offset your flight emissions. But don’t forget the impact of your hire car (because let’s face it, self-drive really is one of the most fun options to get around South Africa).

Avis car hire company became Carbon Neutral in 2009 - but that only covers its own emissions. In other words, its staff movements, its buildings and own fuel use are offset by carbon capture projects around the world.

But there are other ways you can help to cover yours. In July, for example, Avis added to its fleet the Honda Jazz Hybrid, which has an excellent fuel economy rate of 100km for every 4.4 litres of fuel. Its carbon footprint is feather light at 105 grams of carbon per kilometre.

Then again, just driving smoothly in an ordinary car can give you unexpected savings in fuel use and the attendant greenhouse gas emissions.

That means smooth gear changes which can save you 15%); smooth acceleration (pulling away like Lewis Hamilton can use up 60% more fuel); and being sparing with the air conditioner (which adds 2 litres of fuel per 100 km).

As my old driving instructor used to tell me: Make sure you practically lull your passenger to sleep. I don’t think he envisaged the principle would apply to carbon neutral drivers….

Category: Responsible Tourism

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