Driving a car anywhere is bad for the environment; in fact it’s one of the worst things we can do to emit CO2 into the atmosphere and is a direct contributor to climate change. But for those of us who can’t do without driving – or simply don’t want to give up our beloved vehicles, there are ways to make driving a car more environmentally friendly. If you’re smart with the way that you drive, maintain and manage your car, your CO2 emissions could be reduced by up to 25%. Read on to see where you can make positive changes.
Plan your Journey
It might seem like a no-brainer, but knowing your route by planning it in advance will reduce the overall number of miles you drive in any single journey. Getting lost isn’t only time consuming and frustrating, but it’s also very inefficient for fuel consumption. Use a route planner website, which will calculate the quickest route available to you. Where possible, try and avoid driving at peak times to minimise the likelihood of you getting stuck in a traffic jam – again, an inefficient use of fuel.
Greener Driving Style
There are lots of things you can do to make your car more fuel efficient simply in the way to choose to drive your vehicle. Here are a few pointers:
- Avoid rapid acceleration – change gears smoothly and quickly
- Avoid rapid braking – stopping suddenly uses up more fuel
- Higher gears use less petrol – change up gears quickly
- Travel at optimum driving speed – at 70mph you could be using up to 30 per cent more fuel than at 50mph
- Rush hour driving – if you’re in a traffic jam and won’t be moving for a while, switch off the engine
Maintenance and Cleaning
If you look after your car properly, you’ll keep it running to its optimum performance level and this will help boost its overall fuel efficiency. Perform regular tests to your vehicle, and ensure that the proper checks, services and MOTs are undertaken by a professional as many times as your car’s handbook recommends. Simple checks, such as keeping the tyre pressure at the right level, will all help keep your car running greener – not to mention making your vehicle safer.
Luggage and Passengers
Attachments to your car, such as luggage carriers, roof racks and trailers can be excellent ways of minimising the number of journeys you need to make when transporting large loads, making them fuel efficient accessories. However when not using these items, you should remove them from your car. The extra weight increases wind resistance, meaning your car needs to burn more fuel to keep it moving.
The more passengers you take on a journey, the more eco-friendly your journey. Driving with a car load of people can actually be as green as completing some journeys using public transport, particularly if you’re reducing the number of vehicles on the road.
A long journey on a hot day can be uncomfortable unless your car is kept cool – but where possible, avoid using the gas guzzling luxury of car air conditioning, which increases fuel consumption by a massive 10%. Instead, wind down windows and make the most of air vents in your car to promote natural air circulation.