The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) started its eco-mileage program in 2009 to incentivize energy saving in everyday life. Over the past twelve years from September 2009 to July 2021, one in five Seoul citizens participated in the program, reducing CO2 emission by 2.387 million tons to combat climate change. The program has seen an afforestation effect equivalent to creating a forest that is 3.7 times larger than Seoul (221,612.8 ha) or planting 36,163 thirty-year-old pine trees.
The SMG’s eco-mileage program was launched by Mayor Oh Se-hoon in 2009 to reduce GHG emissions. It gives mileage to households, schools and businesses when they reduced emissions by saving electricity, water and gas, and citizens can use the mileage to pay taxes, buy gift certificates at traditional markets, and participate in low-carbon activities such as donating trees to deserts.
Program membership, which had about 360,000 members when it began in 2009, has increased by roughly 6.2 times with 2,225,000 members as of the end of July 2021. The program has proved itself as Seoul’s representative energy-saving grassroots movement where one in five citizens participate.
Owing to its level of civic engagement, the program has saved 1,161,268 tonnes of oil equivalent (TOE) over the past twelve years from September 2009 to July 2021, an amount that exceeds the amount of power generated by one thermal power station in a year (approx. 920,000 TOE/unit). When converted to money, the 1,161,268 TOE amounts to about KRW 766.9 billion. Compared to the budget invested by the SMG for the program’s incentives during the same period (a total of KRW 56.9 billion), the return value is analyzed to be about thirteen times more than the investment.
As the program’s membership increases and the energy saving effects are expanded every year, the SMG plans to supplement the eco-mileage system to offer more diverse benefits to citizens and to give an impetus toward carbon neutrality.
First, vehicle mileage will be integrated into the current eco-mileage program. When vehicle mileage, which provides incentives for reducing gas mileage, is integrated as eco-mileage, the use of the mileage is unified and the benefits are eventually expanded. In addition, the energy-saving incentives that have focused on buildings are going to be applied to various areas, including closed-loop recycling programs and public transportation, and to diversify its scope of mileage to cover a variety of areas where people can save energy in their everyday lives.
Eco-mileage 10th anniversary event poster
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