We’re all trying to do our bit for the environment. If you’re worried about carbon emissions as a result of your driving, Mark Barclay from GSF Car Parts shares his tips for cutting down.
As inspiring figures like David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg campaign for action against climate change, many of us are looking for ways to be more environmentally friendly in all aspects of our lives.
Transport is responsible for nearly 30% of the EU’s total CO2 emissions, 72% of which come from the roads (Europarl). Technology companies and car manufacturers are doing some of the work required to reduce this environmental impact, but it’s important we think about how we can reduce our emissions from driving too.
So, below I’ll share four top tips for reducing carbon emissions for car owners who are looking to be more eco-conscious.
Plan your route in advance
Taking a few minutes to map out your route before you set off can save you from traveling further than you need to. You may discover a few fuel-saving shortcuts, or you might discover ways to bypass notoriously busy roads that could leave you stuck in traffic. What’s more, if you plot your journey ahead of time, you can determine when is best to set off to avoid rush hour.
Sitting in queues with your engine running can contribute a lot of unnecessary carbon emissions, so if you do happen to find yourself in a jam, consider switching off your engine if you think you’ll be stationary for more than 30 seconds.
Alter your driving style
It’s not just idle time that can make your engine work more than it needs to. Your driving style can actually cause your engine to revolve more and use up more fuel, making it less efficient and contributing more carbon emissions, so consider shaking off bad habits and adopting a smoother approach to driving.
You can do this by going easy on the accelerator. Pulling away slowly and braking less can help conserve fuel, as can changing gear slightly earlier than you might be used to. Speed limits aren’t just for safety, either: they actually take environmental concerns into account. So, take extra care to stick to speed limits to help keep emissions low.
Maintain your vehicle
A car that’s in good condition is likely to be more efficient, as build-ups of dirt and grime can cause your engine to work harder and affect fuel consumption. Don’t just concentrate on the body of your car, either: make sure all oils and liquids are topped up, your tyres are at the correct pressure, and your air filters are cleaned out. It can also help to reduce the weight of your car by removing any heavy items you may have stored in the boot or back seats.
When you take your car for its MOT, the mechanic will check for damage and recommend any repairs that can help keep your car efficient. The garage will also be able to make suggestions for ways you can make your car more eco-friendly, so make sure to ask them if you have any questions when it comes to vehicle maintenance.
Consider eco-friendly alternatives
You could consider swapping your car for a more eco-friendly, fuel-efficient model. Better yet, you could look for hybrid vehicles that use a combination of fossil fuels and electric batteries and motors to run, reducing their carbon emissions even further. Fully electric and hydrogen fuel cell cars don’t emit any carbon at all.
Of course, the best way to approach transport if you want to be more eco-friendly is to take advantage of buses, trains, and the tube. The government is investing a lot of money to make public transport in London more environmentally friendly, through the implementation of electric buses and the like, and many private hire car firms are offering electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as options for their customers.
The tips in this guide can help you cut down your carbon emissions when you’re driving. Bear them in mind the next time you need to take a trip in your car.