Your car’s environmental performance depends on the way you drive and how often you drive as well as the fuel efficiency of the engine. Vehicles are responsible for much of the total greenhouse gas emissions, and being responsible about how and when you use your car is not only better for the environment, it’ll also increase your fuel economy.
Plan your Driving Time
Each time you start your car, the cold engine uses more fuel for the couple of minutes it takes to warm up, meaning an increase in fuel consumption. Avoid this by planning your travel—for example, combine shopping trips with taking the children to school or pocking them up.
While you’re doing that, why not help out a friend and help the environment at the same time? Car sharing is a good way of reducing fuel use too. Arrange with a friend to take turns taking your children to school, or get together with some work colleagues and take turns driving to work.
Greener Driving Habits
· Car engines operate with maximum efficiency between 1,500 and 2,500 rpm. Keep the revs at optimum levels by switching to higher gears as soon as possible, ideally before the revs get to 2,500 rpm.
· Accelerating increases fuel consumption. Keeping your distance from vehicles in front of you is not only safer, it’ll help you avoid having to accelerate and brake often.
· Idling wastes fuel needlessly—stop the engine whenever your car will be stationary for more than a couple of minutes. You’ll save more fuel than you’ll spend when restarting the engine. Avoid driving at peak traffic hours whenever possible to reduce the time you spend idling at traffic lights.
· A car engine uses up to 25% more fuel at 110km than it does at 90km. Stick to slower speeds to keep the engine efficient—60km is the most efficient speed for city driving.
· Travel as light as possible, and avoid storing items on the roof rack (such as a surfboard or other equipment). Excess weight reduces your car’s fuel efficiency and storing items on your roof rack creates aerodynamic drag. Even open windows can make your car less aerodynamic and reduce fuel economy.
Keeping your car well-maintained is also important to keep it operating with maximum fuel economy. Have your car serviced regularly, particularly if you drive an older car—the most inefficient cars tend to be older models. Make sure the tyres on your car are at the correct pressure, and are correctly aligned. Under-inflated tyres or poorly-aligned wheels increase fuel consumption, and make the car unsafe to drive as well.
Depending on the age and model of your car, bio-fuels may be an alternative to petrol. Common bio-fuels include Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Ethanol. Depending on how old your car is and what type of bio-fuel you decide to use, you may need to pay to have your car engine converted so it can use the fuel. LGP conversion, for example, costs up to ₤2,000.