TODAY |

Kiwis urged to ditch short car trips to help the environment

We've all felt the temptation to jump in the car and pop up to the dairy for a bottle of milk, but short motorised trips are badly hurting the environment, according to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).

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Research shows short motorised trips are really hurting the environment. Source: Seven Sharp

That's because short car trips produce a higher rate of carbon emissions per kilometre compared to longer trips as cold engines use more fuel.

"Transport happens to be our highest carbon emitter in New Zealand and in fact, it makes up almost half of all our energy-related emissions so it's a big deal," Jo Bye of EECA told Seven Sharp.

She added that research conducted by EECA found that six out of 10 New Zealanders "don't realise that their transport choices and their use of their petrol or diesel cars is likely to be the biggest contributor to their personal carbon footprint".

Bye added that almost one-third of car trips taken in New Zealand are two kilometres or less "and when you add up everybody's short car trips, it makes for more than 1 billion short car trips every year, and that's a pretty astounding figure".

She said while it is "our tendency just to reach for the car keys," people should consider more climate-friendly modes of transport for short trips, including going for a walk, a bike ride, take the bus or rent an e-scooter.

Bye said short car trips are "problematic" as they pollute more per kilometre.

"Cold engines burn more fuel, and so that's why when you add all of that up, that actually contributes to a lot of our emissions."

"It's good for us to pick those small things that we can change in our lifestyles to help us lead more carbon zero kind of lifestyles, low-emission lifestyles."