Owning and driving a vehicle can be expensive. It also has a significant impact on the environment, especially for those who drive a petrol/diesel vehicle on a daily basis. Electric and hybrid vehicles are significantly better for the environment but for those not in need of a fresh pair of wheels just yet there are ways to make driving your current car or van as eco-friendly as possible. There are many misconceptions about eco-driving but here are five ways proven to make a difference.
Prepare for Your Journey
Lose all unnecessary weight from your vehicle before setting off. Remove roof-boxes and the camping equipment from your boot for your journey to work, which improves the vehicle’s streamlining and fuel economy. It’s also important to know exactly where you’re going and plan the shortest route, as there’s nothing worse than wasting time and fuel driving round in circles.
Drive smoothly and try not to stop and start too much, as this uses more fuel than consistently rolling along. Avoid unnecessary braking as well by staying a good distance away from the vehicle in front, which often results in sudden jolts in speed. Changing through the gears as smoothly as possible and even skipping a couple when able, reduces wear and tear on the transmission and cuts down on fuel.
Turn down and Switch off
Air conditioning is vital in the warm months and to clear the windows but it also uses up fuel. Be sure to turn it off when the right temperature is gained and not constantly flicking between hot and cold. Also, turning off the engine when sat stationary in a traffic jam is advisable. Just fifteen seconds or more of the engine being off rather than on saves fuel.
Maintain Your Vehicle
A well maintained vehicle is more likely to run at its best capabilities and closer to the advertised mpg than a neglected one. Check the tyre pressure monthly as one that is too low increases resistance and fuel consumption. Keeping its oil topped up and making essential winter and summer checks will also lead to a more economical driving experience.
For incredibly short journeys save fuel and increase your health by walking, cycling or even using public transport where possible. Ask yourself if the trip you’re about to make needs to be made and if driving is the best option. Obviously for long journeys to work it will be, but even then car sharing is a more eco-friendly choice.