Easing the lockdown and more commuting will lead to a rapid rise in air pollution, say engineers.
In response to the news that the need to return to the workplace could see an increase in car use and a rebound in CO2 emissions following a reduction due to Covid-19 lockdown, Dr Jenifer Baxter, Chief Engineer at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers said, “The Institution has for many years promoted modal shift away from private car use, however we find ourselves in extraordinary times, where our previous efforts are no longer appropriate, and we must innovate rapidly to adjust to this new situation.
“Earlier this year we produced a report on accelerating decarbonisation in the road transport sector and many of the findings from that report can be implemented to help balance out the increase in car use.”
Paul Jones, Chair of the Automobile Division at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and one of the authors of the report, added, “If the private car becomes the transport choice for many people returning to the workplace then a switch to lower carbon fuels such as E10 petrol and biodiesel for existing vehicles could very quickly help to offset any potential CO2 increase and allow the time necessary until we have suitable zero emissions infrastructure in place.
“Placing a new focus on how greater use of biofuels and e-fuels could be increased in our transport energy mix will provide a bridge between our current technologies and infrastructures and those we expect to see in 10 years’ time”.