Transport accounts for nearly half of New Zealand's energy-related emissions, but six out of ten Kiwis don't know that their petrol or diesel car use is likely to be their single-biggest contributor to their carbon footprint1.

What's more, short car trips under two kilometres make up nearly a third of all car trips2, more than a billion trips each year – that's 12 short trips per household per week, on average.

That means there's a huge opportunity for us to switch our mindset: instead of defaulting to the car for a short run to the shops or school, switch it out for active or public transport instead.

Short car trips from petrol or diesel-powered vehicles produce a higher rate of carbon emissions per kilometre, compared to longer trips, as cold engines use more fuel.

Jo Bye, EECA

EECA's Jo Bye says "Short car trips from petrol or diesel-powered vehicles produce a higher rate of carbon emissions per kilometre, compared to longer trips as cold engines use more fuel.

"Clean and clever energy use is vital to achieving a low-emissions economy and being smarter about the ways we use transport is critical to this."

Introducing the ShopPack

To make things easier, we launched the ShopPack, a reusable shopping-bag-turned-backpack that frees up Kiwis to cycle, walk, or scooter home with their belongings – hands-free. It's the first of its kind to hit New Zealand streets.

Jo says "We know it's not easy lugging shopping bags for small top-up shops, running an errand, or picking the kids up from school or sports practice, so jumping in the car is often a default choice. We’re encouraging Kiwis to consider climate-friendly modes of transport such as biking, scooting and walking when making trips under two kilometres instead. The ShopPack - or any backpack - is an easy solution, enabling you to carry a small load with ease, while getting some fresh air.

"If every New Zealand household switched their car for a climate-friendly mode of transport for two trips a week (two kilometre average), every week, we could save around 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year, which is roughly the average amount of carbon dioxide stored annually by 4,800 hectares of pine trees (equivalent to about twice the size of Rangitoto Island)," said Bye.

A limited supply of the specially designed ShopPacks will be given away to Countdown Newtown, Wellington customers on Friday 19 March and Countdown Grey Lynn, Auckland customers on Friday 26 March from 4pm while stocks last.

Follow @genlessnz on Facebook(external link) and Instagram(external link), and you can find out how to get your hands on your own ShopPack, if you miss out in-store.

1Research: EECA Consumer Monitor: Oct-Dec 2020.

2Ministry of Transport NZ Household Travel Survey Data 2015-2017

Get more low emission transport tips

  • On the move

    Check out these lower emissions transport options and pick what suits you - or switch it up one trip at a time.

    • Low emission transport

    12 June 2021

  • Kiwis and their cars

    Kiwis love to drive, but our fuel use is driving climate change. We can drive change instead - by voting with our feet, pedals and bus passes.

    • Low emission transport

    18 March 2021