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Lower Carbon Living

Australians are big spenders when it comes to carbon dioxide emissions (CO2-e). In 2015, our national emissions per person were 23.2 tonnes of CO2-e per person.1 That is more than the US (19.78) and Canada (18.81). In comparison, the UK is at 9.7 tonnes per person.2

So what can you do on a day-to-day basis to change those numbers around – and fast?

Lower Carbon Driving

According to the 2015 Motor Vehicle Census, there are over 16 million registered passenger cars and light commercial vehicles out and about on Australian roads.3 Together, they contribute about 10 percent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, a staggering 57 Mt CO2-e.4

So before you turn on the ignition, have a think about the ways you can lower your carbon footprint.

  • Keep in shape

Having your car serviced regularly can reduce emissions by up to 25 percent.

  • Check the pressure

Checking your tyre pressure regularly, especially on long trips of when transporting a heavy load, makes for smoother and more efficient driving.

  • Choose your moment

Avoid peak hour. The stop-start motion of driving during peak times is very inefficient.

  • Don’t be idle

Turn off the engine when your car is idle for more than one minute.

  • Go natural

Your car uses more fuel when the air-conditioning is on. Flush out hot air first before using the air conditioning or wind down the window and use natural ventilation.

  • Watch your weight

Driving around with a tool box in the boot that never sees the light of day? Remove any excess weight from your car and save on petrol during each trip.

  • Drive smoothly

Be aware of your driving habits – aim to drive smoothly. By reducing the engine’s output and slowing down, you can reduce your vehicle’s carbon footprint.

  • Leave it at home

Choose alternative ways of travel. Walk, ride your bike, carpool or use public transport. This contributes less greenhouse gas emissions per passenger kilometer compared to a car.

  • Go green

Before you buy a new car, check out The Green Vehicle Guide of the Australian Government. Here you can compare car models and identify which ones are more efficient and environmentally friendly. As a general rule: changing to a car with a smaller engine that uses less fuel minimises your carbon footprint. Better yet, consider a hybrid or a fully electric vehicle, you can read more about one of our supporters experience of Going Electric here.



So what do you do when using your car is unavoidable? Your next option is to offset. When you buy carbon offsets from us, we plant trees and restore natural habitat. You can also donate and gift trees to family, friends, colleagues and clients.  As an added incentive carbon offsets, gifting trees and donating through Carbon Neutral Charitable Fund are tax deductible.


RAC has partnered with us to offer members a 20% discount on our Australian Biodiverse Reforestation – Gold Standard carbon offsets, so remember to have your membership number handy when you use our calculator.

LOGO - RAC2013_Portrait  More information on this program can be found here. 



  1. Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory: June 2015
  2. World carbon dioxide emissions from the consumption and flaring of fossil fuels, 1980-2006

  1. Motor Vehicle Census (cat. no 9309.0)[email protected]/lookup/9309.0Media%20Release131%20Jan%202015=

  1. (CCA 2014a, p. 274)