The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) has implemented its “Driving Mileage” program to provide mileage points equivalent to the amount of greenhouse gas and particulate matter reductions achieved through a decrease in vehicle use in comparison to the previous year. Having attracted participation by one in twenty vehicles in Seoul, this program has gained momentum as an energy conservation movement for citizens in their everyday lives.
The SMG’s Driving Mileage program was established in 2017 with a goal to reduce greenhouse gas and particulate matter generated by vehicles. The program assesses citizens’ reduced driving mileage by reduction rate (%) and volume (km) on a yearly basis and provides mileage points accordingly. Participating citizens receive mileage benefits of up to KRW 80,000 per year, which can be used to purchase gift certificates, pay taxes, make donations, and more.
With citizens’ active participation, the reduced driving mileage over the last four years added up to approximately 565 million km, which is 1.41 million times the distance between Seoul and Busan. Converted to the average vehicle fuel efficiency per liter (11.6 km/l), it is equivalent to cost saving by approximately KRW 72.1 billion. Excluding the SMG’s budget invested in the program implementation (KRW 8.2 billion in total), it produced an effect of being equivalent to KRW 63.9 billion in petroleum import.
Converted to greenhouse gas reduction amount, the effect of the reduced driving mileage is the same as reducing carbon (CO2) emission by approximately 128,000 tons. This is equivalent to creating a forest 41 times the size of Yeouido (11,969.8 ha) or planting 19.53 million 30-year-old pine trees.
As for the participation status by year, the number of vehicles participating in the campaign increased by around 3.3 times (approx. 173,000 vehicles as of the end of August 2021) in comparison to 2017, the year in which the campaign was started (approx. 51,000 vehicles). The number of vehicles reducing driving mileage also displays a trend of steady increase by over 40% on an average a year. With public awareness of response to climate crisis through vehicle mileage reduction spreading, reducing vehicle use is becoming established as a lifestyle habit among citizens, according to an analysis.
As the number of citizens participating in the campaign is increasing rapidly, the SMG plans to improve energy saving and greenhouse gas reduction effects of the program by expanding the areas for mileage rewards and providing a greater variety of benefits to citizens.