I should have added a colon to the title really, what I meant is how to drive economically on two fronts – both for your wallet and the environment. Everyone (even the big oil companies) are suggesting we use less fuel. Not only should we do this to cap the amount of CO2 being pumped into the environment, but also to try and slow down price increases and rising global demand.
Whilst this last point might be something that will never lessen (in fact, I personally think it will rise with the development of nations such as China and India), there are some things that we can do to ensure that, in terms of our motors at least, we’re being economical.
The first is, of course, to have a car that doesn’t guzzle petrol or diesel. Here in the UK, whether rightly or wrongly, there has been a significant public outcry over the use of 4×4 vehicles – not least due to Chelsea Tractors which is a term coined for middle class mothers who drive their children less than a mile down the road in a vehicle more suited to rough lanes and dirt tracks.
The second issue is the older car. The more an engine wears, the less efficient it tends to be. So a vehicle well past it’s ‘sell by date’ if you will, will struggle to turn over and the engine will use up more fuel to do the same amount of miles. This is obviously inefficient compared to modern engines that are designed to get more power from the same amount of fuel.
General maintenance of a car can have a huge impact on the quantity of fuel used by the engine. If you want to make sure that your car is running at optimum efficiency, check that it has enough oil, the tyres are inflated to their correct level and you’re not carrying any excess weight. Whenever I’m driving I always try to have literally nothing else in the car beyond what I need for the journey. Less weight means the engine labours less.
Another way to make sure that you car is up to the job of being efficient on the road is to make sure you meet all service intervals (including meeting yearly MOT’s depending on which country you’re in). This ensures that you car meets the minimum standard including level of emissions, to be on the road.
One of the biggest factors that determines your level of fuel consumption on any given journey is the type of driving you perform whilst on the road. Here are some top tips to make sure that you don’t use up any extra fuel than needed, whatever you drive:
· Turn off your engine if waiting in traffic for more than 30 seconds.
· Drive more slowly and smoothly. No-one’s asking you to go tootling about at 40mph everywhere, but if you anticipate what’s coming up you can use the kinetic energy of your car to your advantage.
· Car share. Whilst this is a big no-no for some people (including me sadly, I hate being trapped anywhere without my vehicle), it is tremendously useful. Splitting the CO2 emissions by four (as well as costs of fuel) is much more efficient than using 4 vehicles.
· Be easy on the accelerator. Over here in the UK, there are times when we seem to have a ‘race from the lights’ thing going on. I’ve been guilty of this myself. However, at times this can be dangerous, as well as putting extra workload to the engine. Why not put on some classical music and take it much easier? Life isn’t a race.
Overall, we all have an obligation to each other and the planet. Okay, so there are some who think that climate change isn’t caused by CO2 emissions and so forth. However, there are a significant number who do believe this and I for one would like to try and help others to do their bit for the environment.