Sustainable transport

12 November 2013
I don't think I've written about travel and transport before and I'm not sure why because I do think about it a lot.  When I gave up paid work, we sold our second car and I voluntarily gave up air travel. That was well over ten years ago and since then, on long trips, I've used the car or train. Plane and car travel cause a lot of greenhouse gas emissions we should all be looking at what we're doing and improving what we can.  Of course, there are times when no matter how much you want it, you can't get rid of your car and you can't change it. You have to made do with what you have.  Here are some eco driving tips to get more kilometres or miles from the fuel you use. From an environmental and financial perspective, we should all be concerned about our own usage.

This is our car - a second-hand 2010 Toyota Camry Hybrid.

Back in the 70 and 80, before we'd heard of global warming, we used to drive six cylinder Fords or Holdens. We usually had a station  wagon so we had enough room to get our boys to where they needed to go and enough room for our dogs. When we knew we had to be more careful with fuel, we moved to four cylinder cars.  A couple of years ago we bought our first hybrid car - a Camry Hybrid. We got a great deal from our local dealer on the car they were using as their hybrid demonstration car. We paid cash, drove it away and I was hooked. Our fuel usage dropped by 30 percent. It is, by far, the best car we've ever owned. It's easy to drive, four cylinder, spacious and comfortable. It's not a plug-in car, it's electric and petrol combined. When we turn it on, there is no sound, we can only hear the motor when the petrol motor starts. It incorporates technology that harvests the energy from using the brakes and forward motion. It's far outside my limited understanding of such things, but the bottom line is we're using 30 percent less fuel than we used to. It still has all the mod cons you expect in a new car but the technology makes the most of the fuel we put in it. 

There are also the options of public transport, walking and bicycling. We are within walking distance of our local shops but we rarely shop there. Occasionally, when we have to go into Brisbane, we'll go on the train rather than the car and I have used the train often when visiting Tricia. I love train travel and see it as a bit of an adventure.  Hanno has a bike and will cycle over to the local shops sometimes but mostly the bike sits in the garage. Of course we all know of Greg and Sophie's bike trip from Melbourne, via Tasmania, to North Queensland. They stayed with us here on the long trip up the coast and reported in their book Changing Gears, how that trip changed them. And here are some tips on travel, transport and sustainable living.

Many local authorities in Australia now have a sustainable transport plan. Ours, on the Sunshine Coast, is here. We do make sure we do as much as we can on each trip out and we are conscious of the amount of travel we do by car. I guess if we were a little younger we might look at other, more sustainable forms of transport.  But now, I'll stick with our hybrid, with occasional long trips by train.

What's your main form of transport?