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Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2008-01-16 10:06
It might be a tad wearisome to consistently read ‘don’t own a car’ as one of the major ways in which you can green the planet - and, let’s face it, more than a little unrealistic when it comes to South Africa - but we can start thinking about how we use our car, the type of car we drive, and how to make use of other forms of transport as alternatives to getting around.
Whilst the oil industry continues to fund climate change ‘denial’ [guardian] , so that we continue filling our cars with petrol in a clear dismissal of climate change, we have two things to consider. One, the petrol price will continue going up and up, together with the price of food [tralac] with a resultant drop in the popularity of big cars [stuff.co.nz], and two, carbon dioxide remains one of the major contributing factors to climate change.
Alternatives to the gas guzzler (aka 4x4)
It’s the small, light cars that top the list of environmentally friendly cars – first and second place were both snapped up by Smart – the Roadster and the Fortwo cabriolet. Other winners are the Citroen C1 1.0i, the Peugeot 107 1.0i and the Panda 1.2 Dualogic. And forget the BMW hydrogen fuelled car – it places more strain on the environment than a heavy diesel truck! [spiegel.de]
There’s more logic then in buying a good second-hand car as a green alternative, mainly because you save on the manufacture of a new car. Obviously this needs some qualifying: buying a second-hand V8 chevy doesn’t make the green grade. A recent 1400 mazda or golf with a solid history and in good working order does.
If the government does as it has threatened, we could see a ‘green tax’ or levy of between 2%-33% of the selling price of new cars, based on their size. And an additional 20% could be charged on all 4x4s. [fin24.co.za]
The electric bicycle and scooter
When driving is still green
The government plans to cut rush-hour traffic in South Africa’s big cities by at least 20% in the next three years, and part of this plan is future steps to discourage “single-occupancy vehicles”. [news24] In New York a Clean Pass pilot programme allows low-emission, energy-efficient vehicles to use HOV lanes regardless of the number of occupants in the vehicle. The projected results include an estimated reduction of 6000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions and a saving of over 500 000 gallons of petrol! [networkwomen] [urban sprout for car pools and green cars]
Biofuels – the way forward or a threat to our food supply? The dash for biofuels [wiki] is due to the sharp rise in oil prices and the threat of climate change. But did you know:
A scenario in case: The average US car, travelling 10 000 miles a year on pure ethanol would need about 852 gallons of the corn-based fuel. This would take 11 acres to grow, based on net ethanol production. This is the same amount of cropland required to feed seven Americans. If all the cars in the US were fuelled with 100% ethanol, a total of about 97% of US land area would be needed to grow the corn feedstock. Corn would cover nearly the total land area of the US. [news.cornell.edu]
What’s SA’s take on biofuel?