Fuel consumption down but scale of diesel use remains a worry for health

Cab speeds past-2The amount of fuel consumed by vehicles on the roads of London has fallen by nearly a third over the past 10 years.

The biggest reduction has been in personal travel, which includes cars, motorbikes and buses. Fuel usage in these types of transport is down by 31%.  The reduction for freight transport, which includes vans and lorries, is down by 22%. Personal travel accounts for 2½ times the fuel consumed by freight.

As previously reported by Urbs, traffic volumes have gone down by about 7% since 2004 despite a rising population. But the reduction in fuel consumption can also be attributed to better fuel economy for vehicles.

The estimates are based upon data modelling by the Department of Energy and Climate Change and it shows that fuel consumption, like car ownership, is highest in the outer boroughs, particularly those north of the river, such as Enfield, Barnet and Havering. The highest consumption level is in Hillingdon.

Fuel consumption

The estimates look at where fuel is consumed rather than where it was bought so areas with large arterial roads are likely to have higher consumption levels – the M4 running out through Hillingdon or the M1 in Barnet, for example.

The reduction in consumption is good news environmentally but the data reveals a statistic which is having an impact on the city’s air quality – the shift from petrol to diesel cars. In 2004 consumption of diesel was about 20% of the consumption level for petrol. By 2013 it was 67%.

Diesel engines were promoted by the government as they produce lower levels of emissions that contribute to climate change, but they produce higher levels of N02.  Recent research by Kings College found that NO2 is having a far more harmful impact on health than had been previously recognised and responsible for nearly 6,000 deaths a year.

Source data

See also

London leads the way in declining car use but the East is bucking the trend

Nearly 9,500 deaths a year – study reveals impact of air pollution

Most boroughs fail on legal limit for toxic gas that could harm health

Emission targets at risk as growing population hits greener city plan

 

Why where you live is affecting your gas bill

Canary wharf 2-2People living in outer London boroughs are spending more money heating their homes than those living in central areas.

Data on gas consumption over the past 10 years shows that households in boroughs such as Harrow, Barnet, Bromley, Bexley and Richmond are consistently among the highest consumers of gas.

In contrast, Tower Hamlets, Southwark and Islington have the lowest levels of consumption.

In 2014 the average domestic consumption in Harrow was 17,000 kilowatt hours.  In Tower Hamlets it was a little over half that.

Gas consumption map

The nature of the housing stock is likely to be an important factor here.  The larger number of older, bigger homes homes in outer areas need more gas to heat than the smaller flats, both council and privately owned, in inner areas.

Data analysis on areas of the capital with the most energy efficient homes, previously reported by Urbs, shows Tower Hamlets as the leading borough, largely due to the modern development of flats and houses in Canary Wharf and Limehouse.

The area that perform best for energy efficient housing in the map below tend to be the ones with the lower levels of gas consumption in the map above.

energy efficient homes

Source data

See also

Tower Hamlets leads the way for London’s greener homes

Living in the past: The old housing keeping a roof over our heads

Half the city’s homes are flats but London is low in the high-rise stakes