Sustainability Guide 2011 / According to a 2007 report from the World Energy Council, transportation accounts for 20 percent of world energy consumption and 25 percent of carbon dioxide emissions. Walking and cycling are the best ways to prevent contributing to these stats, but there are also a number of newer transportation options that rely on fuels other than petroleum.
Hybrid vehicles, which combine a standard internal combustion engine with an electric motor, were the first to hit the market and were on the verge of becoming old news until Lexus unveiled its luxury model hybrid vehicles earlier this year.
Electric vehicles are even cleaner options that do away with internal combustion engines (which use petroleum) altogether and replace them with an electric motors. Although there is the added hassle of charging the battery, the fact that these cars emit no tailpipe emissions or greenhouse gasses makes up for this. Even though these are the newest sustainable vehicles to be sold to the public, there are already a slew of them for sale in the US, such as the Nissan LEAF (be prepared to wait!), the Wheego Whip, the Chevrolet Volt and the Ford Focus eV.
If buying a new car is not an option now (not to mention a bit wasteful, no?), there’s always the bus. Using public transportation (something your tax dollars already pay for), is a convenient, low-budget and efficient way to travel sustainably. —Jessie Schiewe
At The Pump
Aside from carpooling, going hybrid, electric or just giving up your car completely, gas-saving practices are back in vogue with the recent fuel price hike that drivers know all too well. Some tips below to remind you how to save on your gas bill:
•Check [honolulugasprices.com] for recent gas price comparisons between local gas stations. The prices are updated to be current within a 36-hour period.
•Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Check the pressure once a month.
•Lighten your car load by removing unnecessary bike racks and heavy items from your trunk. Even having your gas tank kept only at half-full will significantly lighten your vehicle’s load.
•Drive in the middle of your car’s RPM range and use cruise control on straight, flat roads.
•Get a credit card with rebates on gas and use the card for all fuel purchases.
•Purchase gas at cool times of day, such early morning or late at night. Fuel density is higher at cooler temperatures, and you’ll get more gas for what you’re paying.
•Keep windows closed while on the highway. Open windows create air drag, making your vehicle up to 10 percent less efficient. —M.S.
Parting with hard earned money to fill up your gas tank never ceases to be a sad affair, especially with the relentlessly steep prices. Instead of having continuous pity-parties at the gas station, why not get an electric bike? Saving money is only a sliver of the advantages; you’ll always find parking, you’ll get some great outdoor time, and most importantly, you’ll make a great impact on the environment. E-bikes and scooters have no emissions at all: no gas, oil, noise, or exhaust.
Aloha Electric Bikes, the first local carrier of e-bikes and scooters in Honolulu, have a wide assortment of e-bikes and scooters that can go as fast as 25–30 mph, while the cost to power its electricity only comes out to around five dollars a month. —N.R.
There’s no reason not to choose a local company when shipping interisland. It’s good for Hawaii’s economy, and it also reduces the number of boxes, packaging supplies, etc. that are brought in from the mainland.
Young Brothers, perhaps Hawaii’s oldest shipping company (it’s been around since the 1900s) is a great option for sustainable shipping. Whether you’re shipping your vehicle, a pair of shoes or 400 pounds of produce, Young Brothers has you covered. While it doesn’t ship to the mainland, it does offer affordable rates and discounts, such as the island product discount for local agriculture products or the farming inputs discount for feed, fertilizer and fingerboards. Since November 2010, the company has also been generating renewable energy from a 160kW photovoltaic solar energy system installed on the roof of its maintenance building in Honolulu. —J.S.
Matson Navigation Co. is another transportation service that spans the globe and encompasses everything from providing a vital lifeline to the island economies of Hawaii, Guam and and Micronesia to shipping household goods from Hawaii to California. Long recognized as a leader in Pacific shipping, Matson continues to strengthen its ocean transportation services through fleet enhancements and extends the reach of the company’s transportation network to include warehousing, distribution, and freight forwarding through Matson Global. —Shantel Grace