Energy Diet

Someone Call Me a Cab

At the start of my 360° Energy Diet, this was my second highest scoring category, yet it could be the lowest score at the end of the diet due mainly to restrictions in a public transport system in Gauteng, at least in the area that I live in.

I own a Toyota Verso 1.6S, while my wife has a Toyota Yaris T3 Spirit. I’ve tested both models, and both average 13.5Km/Litre (31.75 gal/mi), but I have decided to alternate vehicles for a few months to see if there is any saving in the fuel bill. The difference in CO2 emissions is 30g/km. I travel 60km (96 mi) per day commuting to work and back, so I should save 300g in CO2 emissions each month, even though this is what I have to contend with every day.

What about public transport then? “What public transport?” would be my reply. Although we have two newly built projects, the Gautrain and Rea Vaya (nearing completion) as alternative means of transport, they are not capable of resolving our transportation issues. If you live and work close to the routes they take, it’s great as there could be a significant saving in time, cost and frustration levels. However, the system is new and doesn’t cover most of the critical areas, including the area I live in. In fact, there aren’t any plans to develop the Gautrain to the South East of Johannesburg in the next 7 years.

To make matters worse, the National Roads Agency (SANRAL) has widened/improved most of the highways in Gauteng at a cost of R20billion (estimate) and have included toll gantries to charge users per kilometer used. There has been huge public outcry, mainly because of the costs proposed and the impact it will have on the economy.

One of the positives that will come from the system is the ability to monitor speed, which together with drunken driving, mobile phone use and un-roadworthy vehicles, is probably the biggest cause of accidents and fatalities on our roads. Average speed prosecution is used in a number of areas in South Africa and many people are driving slower as a result.

Getting back to my scorecard
On the list I was able to tick off removing extra weight from car, inflating tires, and investing in a more fuel-efficient car (both models purchased in 2010). I traveled to Durban (venue of the COP 17 Climate Change Conference 2011) for business this past weekend by car instead of vehicle. The distance by vehicle was 545Km (872 mi), and by airplane would be 478Km (297) as the crow flies. Driving resulted in 175.5Kg CO2 emissions, whereas the flight (short haul) would have resulted in 315.7Kg – calculate your emissions using the following guideline. Does this mean that I reduced my planned air travel by one trip? I hope so. The only thing left on my scorecard I can make a difference with would be to drive at or below the speed limit, which for most males would be something extremely difficult to do.