Reducing your car use and making smart choices about how you travel – to work, school, the shops, sporting and entertainment venues – contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improves your health and quality of life.

Reducing the number of trips in your car reduces your fuel costs, wear and tear on your car and helps the environment. For every litre of petrol used in a motor vehicle, 2.3 kilograms of carbon dioxide (CO2) are emitted from the exhaust.

Reduce car use

Try these simple ways to reduce your car use:

  • Combine your trips - short car trips are the least fuel efficient.
  • Replace a trip with a phone call, email, or fax.
  • If you are not travelling long distances, walk or cycle instead.
  • Depending on where you live, public transport may be cheaper and less stressful than driving.
  • Try Transport Canberra Buses Park & Ride or Bike & Ride.
  • Car pool or share a car.

Reduce fuel consumption and emissions

When you need to travel by car these simple steps will help to reduce fuel consumption and save you money:

  • Avoid driving aggressively, revving the engine, braking and accelerating quickly. In a manual vehicle, try to keep the engine below 2500 rpm (petrol) or 2000 rpm (diesel).
  • Try to drive at a constant speed within the recommended speed limits. Vehicle emissions are lowest when travelling between 40 and 60km per hour. Reducing your speed from 105 to 90 km per hour can increase your fuel efficiency by as much as 15 per cent.
  • Avoid peak hour traffic congestion. Apart from being a stressful time to drive, frequent stopping and starting increases the wear and tear on your vehicle and uses more fuel than normal driving.
  • Reduce wind resistance by removing unused roof racks. Spoilers and driving with the window open also increases air drag, costing you more in fuel.
  • Turn the engine off if you are waiting for a few minutes, for example when picking up or setting down someone or if delayed in traffic for more than a minute or two.
  • Don’t carry excess items in your car, such as golf clubs, bowling balls or other heavy items that are not required. This will save you money on fuel.
  • Regularly check the pressure in your tyres when they are cold and ensure they are inflated to the recommended level (this is indicated on the tyre or inside the driver’s door). This will help to reduce your fuel consumption and wear and tear on your tyres as your tyres will have less friction on the road.
  • Keep your car well maintained, tuned and serviced.
  • Look for ways to minimise your use of car air conditioning. Air conditioners can increase fuel consumption by five to 20 per cent. Try to keep your car cool by parking in the shade or use sunshades in your car to help keep out the heat. When driving, consider opening the windows and turning off the air conditioning. Try to avoid turning on the air conditioning until you reach a more constant cruising speed.
  • When you next buy or lease a car, consider a green low emission vehicle. See the ACT Government Vehicle Emission Reduction Scheme and the Australian Government Green Vehicle Guide for more information.

More information

For more information about transport and sustainable transport issues visit: