Let’s talk about the mode of transport that creates the most emissions: airplanes. In Slovenia, ordinary people usually don’t travel much by air, because distances are not very long and we only take a plane when we go abroad in more distant areas of Europe or the world. In our family, we travel by plane usually only once or twice a year.
As I’ve already mentioned, we drive a car for daily transport (also carpooling with neighbors) during the cold wintertime, but during spring, summer and autumn we mostly ride bicycles, except for our youngest one, Krištof, who takes a school bus. In Slovenia, children need to pass an exam for bike riding before they are allowed to ride a bike alone without a companion or adult supervision. Krištof is going to have an exam for bike riding this year.
So, at this time of year we still drive a car for every day use to go to work. A quick calculation shows us that we travel (not just to go to work but generally) approximately 27,000 kilometers (16,777 miles) annually with both cars, which represents more than 2,100 liters (555 gallons) of petrol. That means that our cars are in fact the biggest source of energy consumption in our household.
The average gasoline consumption with a large car, which has a volume of 1,600 cubic centimeters and engine power of 113 kilowatts, represents 87 liters/100 kilometers (2.2 gallons/62 miles). But with a small car, which has a volume of 1,200 cubic centimeters and engine power of 60 kilowatts, average gasoline consumption represents 6,4 litres/100 km (1.6 gallons/62 miles).
The stated consumption is slightly below the average for this type of car in Europe. Lower consumption was achieved especially with energy-efficient driving (avoiding fast acceleration and deceleration, periodically checking tire pressure, driving at lower engine speeds). With these kind of actions we managed to reduce the average gasoline consumption almost for one liter per 100 km (.26 gallons per 62 miles).
It’s a fact that smaller cars have lower consumption, and in the past we’ve been very rational when buying a new car. We never bought a bigger car than was really necessary.
For further reductions in fuel consumption, it would be necessary to opt for a different technology when changing cars. One of the options is a car with diesel engine, for which the fuel consumption is almost 20 percent lower, but this engine emits more dust particles in the air and also these cars are more expensive.
The second option is an electric car, which itself does not emit harmful gases. But when looking at the overall efficiency of the gas and coal combustion at a thermal power plant in comparison with electricity consumption in an electric vehicle, with the respect to emissions of CO2 in the air, it is even worse than a internal combustion engine. And we must not forget about the scrap batteries, which are very hazardous waste.
So, when we analyze all the above, we conclude that the largest contribution to reducing energy consumption is to ride a bike.
In Slovenia, we have an advertisement that says: “Everyone get on a bike for a healthy body.” We could continue: “And for a healthy environment.” 😉