Do your bit to help the environment
Eco-driving in the UK Driving test.
We all have a role to play in tackling climate change. While leaving the car at home is the best way to reduce C02 emissions, we all need to think about how our essential car journeys can have the least impact on the environment.
Here are some of the things you can do to save pounds and reduce our environmental impact when getting from A to B.
- If you are thinking of buying a new car, consider purchasing a hybrid (part electric, part petrol), or a high-efficiency diesel model. Hybrids can reduce your emissions by around 40% (and improving all the time) and use much less fuel than an equivilent non-hybrid model - with the subsequent pounds savings. These savings add up over the life of the car and, especially with fuel prices on the rise, can be considerable. Be sure to take these fuel savings into consideration when weighing up the up-front cost of the car.
- When you do need to use the car, plan to do a number of errands in one trip rather than several trips and save both time and fuel (for the first couple of minutes of a car trip the engine is cold and this results in an increase in fuel).
- Avoid short journeys - a cold engine uses almost twice as much fuel and catalytic converters can take five miles to become effective
- Travel light. The more a vehicle carries, the more fuel it uses so don't carry more cargo than you need to and clear out your boot. An extra 50 kg of weight can increase your petrol bill by around 2%.
- Remove Accessories such as roof racks, bike carriers, and roof boxes significantly affect your car's aerodynamics and reduces fuel efficiency, so remember to remove them when not in use.
- Check your tyre pressure regularly - under-inflated tyres are dangerous and can increase fuel consumption by up to 3%.
- Check your revs - change up before 2,500 rpm (petrol) and 2,000 rpm (diesel).
- Drive away immediately when starting from cold - idling to heat the engine wastes fuel and causes rapid engine wear.
- Anticipate road conditions and drive smoothly, avoiding sharp acceleration and heavy braking. This saves fuel and reduces accident rates.
- The most efficient speed depends upon the car in question but is typically around 55 - 65mph. Faster speed will greatly increase your fuel consumption.
- Use air conditioning sparingly as it significantly increases fuel consumption.
- Plan your journeys to avoid congestion, road works and getting lost.
- If you're stuck in a jam, switch the engine off if you expect to be there for more than a minute or two. Cutting the engine will save fuel and reduce emissions.
- Where possible, use public transport or share car journeys where you can. For short trips, consider walking or riding a bicycle instead
- Consider sharing travel for all or part of a journey, especially regular trips like traveling to work, social or sporting events. Consider joining or starting up a car pool with other people in your workplace.
- Don't forget to service your vehicle regularly. Keeping your vehicle well tuned will mean it is operating at its most efficient, which means it will use less fuel.
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