Motor vehicle emissions are the main source of air pollution in urban centres and the fuel they burn is a major contributor to climate change.
Governments, scientists, industries and ordinary people around the world are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact of today's energy intensive way of life and the level of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions we're producing. In particular they are worried about global warming and climate change. We can minimise the long-term effects on the environment by reducing our energy consumption, investing in the development of low or zero emission energy alternatives and offsetting what we can't reduce ourselves.
The DriveGreen calculator was developed as part of an initiative of the NSW Government and Roads and Maritime Services to encourage NSW drivers to counteract their carbon emissions through the purchase of a wide range of carbon offsets.
The DriveGreen calculator helps you to calculate the amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted from your car each year, and help you to drive green. It is based on the information you provide and is a useful guide for deciding how many carbon offsets you should purchase.
Go to the DriveGreen calculator
What are carbon offsets?
Carbon offsets are a way you can compensate for your own greenhouse emissions when driving by donating to organisations involved in greenhouse gas emission reduction programs. A carbon offset represents the reduction of one metric ton of CO2, or its equivalent in other greenhouse gasses.
Emission reduction projects aim to prevent or remove an equivalent amount of the CO2 generated through carbon producing activities (ie industrial process, transportation, electricity production, etc).
How do carbon offsets work?
A carbon offset is a financial investment in a project or activity that reduces greenhouse gas emissions or removes (sequesters) carbon from the atmosphere. NSW drivers can purchase credits from the company or organisation of your choice to help fund emission reduction or carbon sequestration activities occurring at another location to offset your vehicle's emissions.
How do I purchase carbon offsets?
Carbon offsets can be purchased from Australian retailers, brokers or developers who have committed to investing the funds raised into projects or activities that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or help remove (sequester) carbon from our atmosphere.
Carbon offset products most typically involve projects investing in:
- Energy efficiency
- Avoidance of methane emissions
- Renewable energy and
- Industrial gas.
Detailed information about carbon offset products.
What impact do motor vehicles have on greenhouse gas emissions?
The key by-product of motor vehicle use, vehicle emissions has a significant impact at both a local and global level. On a local level, oxides of nitrogen, fine particles and hydrocarbons pollute the air we breathe, resulting in health problems for many in our community. On a global scale, the burning fuel from motor vehicles is a major contributor to climate change.
The global impact of motor vehicle emissions upon the environment
The growth of motor vehicle use and rising concentrations of greenhouse gases affect the overall balance of the atmosphere, leading to changes in climate and weather patterns that include an increase in natural disasters such as droughts, floods and cyclones. Greenhouse gases also contribute to long-term rises in ocean levels.
The transport sector is the third largest contributor to Australia's greenhouse gas emissions and according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there was a 29.9 per cent increase in greenhouse gas emissions from this sector between 1990 and 2005. In 2005, the transport sector contributed 14.4 per cent of Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions.
The local impact of greenhouse gas emissions upon the environment
Motor vehicles are the major source of air pollution in urban centres and account for the following:
- 70 per cent of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions
- 52 per cent of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions
- 23 per cent of fine particulate emissions.
High levels of these pollutants are associated with a range of adverse health effects such as respiratory disease (including asthma) and heart disease.
Other benefits of purchasing carbon offsets
Your purchase of carbon offsets will help drive other environmental benefits that include:
- Reducing other pollutants
- Increased native animal habitats
- Reducing our reliance on fossil fuels
- The installation and application of new energy efficient technologies.
Other ways to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions
Leaving the car at home and making public transport, car pooling or cycling a part of your regular modes of transport can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions significantly and also save you money.
For instance, every kilometre of car travel that is replaced by these modes of transport saves up to half a kilogram of greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere and 20 cents in operating costs. Alternative travel options to car travel can also reduce your travel times and improve your health.
Other DriveGreen program benefits
The DriveGreen program further supports a range of other vital emissions reduction initiatives the NSW Government has established to meet the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the key areas of Energy, Transport, Agriculture and Forestry and Waste. These initiatives include the Climate Change Fund, the Cleaner Government Fleet program, the NSW Greenhouse Gas Reduction Scheme and the NSW Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy.
More green transport options