Up until now we haven’t paid much attention to the carbon emissions of our vans. Some vans just stay local and some go as far as Scotland or Cornwall. The furthest any of them has been is Betty who went to Berlin where as you might imagine she received a great welcome.
In 2021 the fossil fuels used by our vans started grabbing our attention. Carbon emissions have already begun to affect our lives and that of our customers and VW campervan lovers across the globe. However there have been two significant events in the UK in particular that made us sit up and take notice.
E5 to E10 petrol
Firstly the move in unleaded fuel from E5 to E10 is a cause for concern. This change is designed to have environmental benefits. Ethanol absorbs CO2 as it is produced. But, in turn, this will affect our vehicles. The additional ethanol it uses can cause long term harm to the carburettor and fuel pipes, a problem that cars with modern technology don’t have.
Our answer is simply to continue using E5, usually super unleaded or premium unleaded fuel. Whilst E5 is more expensive it does less harm to the vans and comes with the benefit of better miles per gallon. We can also supply an additive that helps lessen the damage if only E10 is available. We look to offset the carbon emissions caused by this stance.
The other major event was the COP26 summit on climate change. From the outside, it became clear the difficulty that governments have in agreeing on a climate plan for our Earth. The world in which we live and for which we have no alternative. The only thing we could think of was to see what we could do ourselves.
Changing to electric cars might be one thing but these are expensive and still come with issues. People worry about whether there are enough charging points on long journeys, the mining of precious metals used in their manufacture and the fact that carbon based fuels are still used to generate the electricity they use.
The other point is that our vans, being vintage, are unlikely to ever really be converted to electric. Even if they could they would lose the funkiness, the quaintness, the reasons our customers hire them. There isn’t actually room for the batteries.
So our conclusion is that whilst we wait for governments and technology to get it right we should do something that we think can help. Something that should hopefully help make an impact. Our answer has been to plant trees.
Our calculations tell us that on average each of our vans in 2021 generated 1.73 tonnes of CO2. Some will have generated more and some less. It depends on how far you drive and therefore how much fuel you use. 1.73 tonnes feels like a good average. We are talking just under 4,000 miles a year.
So our three vans in 2021 will, we think, have generated 5.6 tonnes of CO2. We asked around to find see whether anyone we know could recommend a scheme. Some we quickly discarded but Ecologi seemed to fit with what we wanted to do.
Ecologi offer different subscription plans to cater to your business’ or personal carbon emissions. You can also offer to plant a tree in a rainforest for as little as £0.12. Their projects include mangrove tree plantations in Madagascar as well as Mozambique, Nicaragua and numerous other places.
They say that a woodland of 500 trees will reduce CO2 by 10 tonnes. We have now invested in such woodland. That will cover our base carbon emissions with room to become carbon positive. We feel much better for it and hope this rubs off on our customers. We care about the environment and we have no doubt you all do too. It works out at around 10 trees per van hire.
From the 2022 season onwards we are going to donate a clump of trees for every hire we have.
What’s more we are giving our customers a chance to contribute. Through our booking website you can optionally donate a clump of 25 trees for £4.90 or a thicket of 50 for £9.80. You can decide. You don’t have to donate anything but if you are putting in some long miles it may help you feel even better about your holiday.
Every time you make a donation your name will appear as the donor. If you donate directly via this link you can enter your own name or if you do it through our website when booking a van we will do it for you and let you know when it is done.
Check out https://ecologi.com/annesvans. You can see how many trees we have planted and where they are.