Mark Barclay, from car parts supplier GSF Car Parts, shares five golden rules for becoming a more eco-friendly driver.
From recycling your rubbish to cutting down on the amount of single-use plastic you buy, you’re probably already taking steps to help reduce your impact on the environment where you can. But, if you really want to make a difference, one of the best things you can do is make some changes to the way you travel. Road transport contributes around a fifth of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions, according to the latest Government statistics. Clearly, if we want to reduce our national CO2 emissions, we’re going to need to take a long, hard look at our travel habits.
However, that doesn’t mean you need to stop driving for good. There are ways you can help reduce the amount of emissions your car produces, many of which are simple and cost-effective. Here, I’ll share five ways you can cut your CO2 emissions and make your trips that little bit more eco-friendly.
Check Your Tyres
If your car tyres are underinflated, it can significantly reduce your car’s fuel economy. This is because, when there’s not enough air inside the tyres, your car’s engine has to work harder to make them turn, burning more fuel and subsequently increasing emissions.
All car tyres have a recommended pressure level: you can normally find this information on the inside of the driver’s side door, or in your owner’s manual. Once you’ve found this, you should check that your tyres are inflated to the optimum level using a digital gauge every couple of weeks. If you do find they’re underinflated, it’s simple enough to top them up at a garage or petrol station.
Keep Your Car Serviced & Well Maintained
Any kind of fault or issue with your car’s engine, fuel system, or exhaust is likely to worsen your vehicle’s fuel economy, making it less eco-friendly and more expensive to run. Getting your car serviced regular will help to flag up any issues, meaning you can get them sorted before they become a serious problem. A well-maintained vehicle is always more eco-friendly than one that needs a bit of TLC, so be sure to book your car in for a full service every year, as well as an interim service every six months.
Using a quality fuel additive or flush between services is also thought to help boost fuel efficiency. Some premium brands of petrol or diesel fuel include a fuel cleaner and conditioning agents, so it may be worth doing some research to see if these are right for your car.
Keep The Weight of Your Car Down
The heavier your car is, the harder the engine will need to work to get it moving, burning more fuel and increasing emissions. So, while it might sometimes be convenient to use your car as a temporary storage space, you should try to make sure you’re not leaving bulky or heavy items in the car unnecessarily. If you often find yourself hoarding stuff in the boot or back seats, set yourself the goal of having a good clear out at the end of every month.
Of course, it goes without saying that you should be driving sensibly whenever you hit the road. But, while keeping yourself and other road users safe is always the top priority, being careful can have other benefits, too. For one thing, driving sensibly can also have an impact on how much fuel you use, and how quickly it burns, which can help reduce your emissions. So, you should always try to:
- Stick to the speed limit: The faster you drive, the more fuel you’ll burn. For example, drive at 70mph and you’ll use up to 9% more fuel than at 60mph, and up to 15% more than at 50mph (Confused.com). Speeding isn’t just illegal – it makes your driving less eco-friendly, too.
- Maintain a steady speed: Accelerating and braking suddenly will burn more fuel than driving smoothly, so try to maintain a steady pace.
- Always use the right gear: Using a lower gear than is necessary will significantly reduce fuel efficiency, which in turn will increase emissions. So, when accelerating, always shift up a gear as soon as you’re able to.
Think About Upgrading to an Electric Vehicle
If you’re serious about reducing your carbon footprint, then it might be time to upgrade to a fully electric vehicle (EV). EVs are easily the greenest type of vehicle, and have zero tailpipe CO2, NOx, and particulate emissions, as well as being very cost-efficient to run and maintain. Plus, there are plans to gradually phase out the sale of all traditional petrol and fuel vehicles by 2030 (Autocar) so, by switching to an EV now, you’ll be getting ahead of the curve.
In order to make the change, you will need to install an electric vehicle charging point at your home. There are government grants that can help cover the cost of this, so be sure to take advantage of these schemes if you’re eligible for them. EV charging points are becoming a common sight in city centres and car parks these days, so it’s never been easier to top up your car while you’re out and about. If you use your car to commute, remember to make sure you have access to one at work, too.
These days, we’re all becoming increasingly aware of the effect our lifestyles have on the planet. So, if you’re serious about making a difference, why not try taking on some of the tips I’ve shared here? This way, you can get from A to B in a much greener way.
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