More cars on the road can lead to increased congestion and carbon emissions. The level of atmospheric carbon has now exceeded 400 parts per million – the last time that so much carbon dioxide was in the air was 3-5 million years ago, when the Arctic was ice-free and the sea levels were up to 40 meters higher than today. Our main contribution to CO2 emissions in New Zealand is from transport.
Leave the car at home
Why not try leaving your car at home more often? Lower Hutt offers great opportunities for walking and cycling and offers a good public transport system.
Carpooling to work makes sense for a whole bunch of reasons- a more sociable journey, cheaper vehicle running and parking costs, and a great way to meet people from your area.
Register today with Smart Travel to find a carpooling match from your neighbourhood. Smart Travel has replaced the Let's Carpool website and now has a user friendly mobile app compatible with most smartphones.
There are some great new functions including rewards for logging trips. Rewards include family passes to Zealandia and Pukaha Mount Bruce, Prezzy cards and Fishpond vouchers. With carpooling, it's a numbers game, so spread the Smart Travel word to all your friends and family. Be part of making smarter use of our road network
Consider public transport
Taking the bus, ferry or train frees up your brain and your hands on your commute to work.
Find your fastest travel connection and plan your journeys online
Walk and cycle in the Hutt
Walking is good exercise and great for trips under 2km. For leisure and to build up your fitness levels, Lower Hutt offers lots of great walking tracks.
Cycling’s not only for exercise, but also the most efficient form of transportation.
For shopping and other trips around town, try a comfortable upright, step-through frame style bike (and consider fitting a small electric motor for the hills). Folding bikes can be taken on the train at any time, offering another great alternative for getting around.
For more ideas and information around cycling, check out the following resources:
Fuel saving tips
If you want to reduce your cost and air pollution, follow these 11 well-tested methods (courtesy of the Sustainable Living Education Trust):
- Remove any roof racks or boxes, as the air resistance slows your vehicle.
- Limit cruising speed on the open road to approximately 90km per hour where it is safe to do so as this could save 20% of fuel compared to driving at 110km/hr. Similarly, don't fight a head wind - simply drive a little slower!
- Keep your tyres correctly inflated. Check the tyre pressures when cold. Soft tyres can waste 10% of fuel and are also dangerous. Check for any uneven wear across the tread as this could be a sign for incorrect wheel alignment, which also wastes fuel.
- Tune your vehicle so that it gets the optimum air and fuel mix; keep air filters clean; and if using spark plugs ensure they are clean. Older diesel engines should be tuned twice a year.
- Drive smoothly avoiding sudden acceleration or braking. Don’t tailgate or cut in and out of fast traffic if you want to save fuel. Change up to 'cruise' or fifth gear if available on the open road to reduce engine revs. In an automatic, ease back on the accelerator once the car is at cruising speed, or as you approach hilltops, which encourages the auto-transmission to change up sooner.
- Plan trip timings to avoid congested urban traffic and its aggressive commuters on the open road. Leave earlier or later than the rush if you can. Stop-start queues really waste fuel. Aggressive open road driving (eg, accelerate hard, brake hard, tailgate other vehicles) may save five minutes in a 60km trip but cost 30% more in fuel used. Start five minutes early and drive smoothly.
- Don’t use your air-conditioner for cooling in urban areas if you can comfortably use ventilators instead which can save you up to 10% of fuel on a hot day. Cool the car with open windows when you first move off after parking in sunshine. Wide-open windows create air drag at speeds over 50km/h, making air conditioning the more fuel efficient choice at higher speeds.
- Turn off the rear window de-mister after a few minutes once it has done its job to save 3% of fuel. Electrical power to that de-mister is drawn from the battery which is being charged by the car engine.
- Combine and plan trips wherever you can.