Don’t let your traffic carbon footprint surprise you

A year ago, I did a carbon footprint test and surprised to see that most of the emissions were from transportation even though I have not taken any flights in recent years. Nevertheless, it’s a fact that transportation emissions are substantial in all levels including the state, industries as well as individual.

Approximately fifth of the emissions in Finland, and most of the energy consumption originate from transportation. Considering the businesses, the emissions originating from traffic are even more substantial. For example, at EnerKey the commutes and coming to work daily constitute half of the whole company’s carbon footprint.

Getting from point A to point B is usually a necessity, but the means of doing so are luckily becoming more versatile. The Finnish Climate Change Panel published in 2019 an automatic calculator (in Finnish) that facilitates the comparison of emissions and costs between different driving forces. The calculator can be used to view the cumulative life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions and costs of car alternatives based on different propulsions.


How are different driving forces resulting on costs and emissions?

Many kinds of calculators are naturally raising interest of the Energy Chief and led me to do some comparisons in between different driving forces. In the next calculations I have used mainly the calculator’s assumptions, but with the electric- and gas car have been compared separately with cars utilizing bio- and natural gas and electric car that utilizes 100% renewable electricity in comparison to electricity from mixed sources.

The mileage is assumed to accumulate 15,000 km/year and the time of usage to be 15 years. Bioethanol and biodiesel have not been included in the comparison due to them being the part of the distribution obligation. Therefore, do not achieve system-wide emission reductions under current controls.


Image 1. Life cycle emissions


Image 2. Life cycle costs

The results implicate, electric and gas defeat the traditional driving forces both in emissions and in regarding of the costs. Drivers utilizing solely biogas generate emissions in the same level as the electric car drivers using 100% renewable electricity. Drivers using natural gas end up on the same level as the diesel-car drivers.


Monitoring of transport fuel consumption and emissions

As demonstrated above, with alternative driving forces it is possible to effectively cut emissions and costs. This is important ecpecially in companies that have many employees spending loads of time on the road. It’s crucial to know the starting point with emissions and costs to be able to do ongoing surveillance and measuring.

Cloud-based EnerKey SaaS service includes the handy tools to for monitoring the consumption and emissions of transport fuels and the charging of electric cars. This brings motoring into the scope of comprehensive energy management.

Personally, my own carbon footprint gives much more lower reading as opposed to year ago since I changed my old gasoline car into a used gas car. In six months, I haven’t had to visit gas stations many times. With my own towns’ biogas, the Energy Chief customer consultation visits can be done light heartedly to towns that are inaccessible with public transportation. I warmly recommend considering the options mentioned above if a car change is in your scope, whether for business or for personal use.

I firmly believe that surveillance of traffic fuels and emissions should be a part of energy management in every sustainable organization.
Let’s start reducing our carbon footprint together!

Don’t hesitate to contact us so we can put your emissions and costs in order!