We love cars, but we want to be greener in the way we use them too. There are many different ways to drive, but driving eco-efficiently is one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint and save money. By driving smarter, you can increase your fuel efficiency by up to 15% (equating to £230 of fuel savings a year & a 400kg reduction in annual carbon dioxide emissions). Here are out tips on how to become a greener driver.
Maximise your car’s energy with smart usage
Only drive when it’s absolutely essential and don’t take your car on unnecessarily short trips. Combine any shopping trips with social visits and errands to maximise your car’s energy. It’s much better to go out once a day for a longer trip than keep going out in short bursts.
Did you know?
Starting the engine from zero uses more fuel than keeping an already heated engine warm.
Favour a newer, eco-friendly car
Older cars tend to produce more emissions, whereas newer models have more eco-friendly features. Hybrid and electric cars are the most environmentally friendly options. If you are getting rid of an old car, remember to recycle it responsibly if you’re not selling it on.
Your gears do the talking
Correct gear selection is essential for fuel efficiency; a rule of thumb is that the higher the gear, the better. Driving smoothly in the highest possible gear helps keep your car in its optimum RPM (revs per minute) range.
Here is a rough gear guide:
- 1st Gear: Driving-off only (one vehicle length)
- 2nd Gear: 15 Mph
- 3rd Gear: 25 Mph
- 4th Gear: 30 Mph
- 5th Gear: 40 Mph
Maintain your car engine
A well-maintained engine will boost your fuel efficiency. Make sure service your car according to the manufacturer’s schedule. This includes things like the changing the oil, replacing parts and making sure your catalytic converter is working correctly.
Turn your engine off when you are standing for longer than a minute or two. Some newer cars do this automatically, but make sure you do it yourself if you’re driving an older model.
Drive with an optimal tyre pressure
Check tyre pressure on a regular basis, especially before a long journey. Under-inflated tyres increase resistance, which wastes fuel. Correct tyre pressure also improves traction on the road, which is a big safety concern in winter.
Think ahead with your braking
Driving in tune with the surrounding traffic means less unnecessary breaking and accelerating, which waste fuel. It’s important to act instead of react and not to keep speeding and stopping and starting. A good driver will anticipate traffic flow and brake and accelerate accordingly. By driving smoothly you will increase efficiency, and studies have shown you don’t get somewhere quicker by racing around!
Remove unnecessary weight
Make sure you aren’t wasting fuel by lugging heavy things around in your boot, or driving with an empty ski box attached to your car.
Let the air in
At low speeds, opening the windows is the best way to keep cool inside the car. If you’re driving faster (60 miles per hour or more), then you are better off using the air con and closing the windows.
Do you have any other tips or tricks to reduce your driving carbon footprint? Please let us know your thoughts and experiences of green driving in the comments.