If you are searching for easy ways to make your car more environmentally friendly, you’re certainly not alone. In 2019, Forbes reported that 77% of people are eager to learn how to lead more sustainable lives, and one of the best places to start is with your vehicle. The following shifts in your approach to driving may seem small, but the impact they have on the planet is significant.
Never Ignore Routine Maintenance
The better condition your car is in, the more environmentally friendly it becomes. Consistent, regular maintenance over the years will save you money, dramatically reduce its carbon emissions rate, and help your car to run in the most fuel-efficient way possible.
If you already take your in for a service every six months, you’re already doing your part. But if not, this is a great opportunity to start. Plus, there are loads of other benefits to regularly servicing your vehicle. It preserves the value of your car, lowers overall maintenance costs, and improves the level of safety it can provide while on the road.
To get your car running smoothly and to be as environmentally friendly as possible, make sure that you regularly change your oil, replace air and fuel filters, replace spark plugs, and check your onboard control system for errors.
Invest In Eco-Friendly Tyres
The right tyres can make a huge difference to the level of fuel you use and the volume of carbon your car emits. Eco-friendly tyres are essentially fuel-efficient tyres, with low-rolling resistance to prevent fuel wastage during abrupt stops, starts or rapid pace shifts. They also generate less heat than a standard tyre, which supports the longevity of their life span.
Many of the cars coming out in 2022 are already kitted out with eco-friendly tyres, such as compact and small SUVs, which balance out their carbon footprint quite evenly with sustainable synthetic blend tyres (instead of carbon-heavy rubber). New model compact and small SUVs are more fuel efficient and tend to have lower carbon emissions too. But one of the best things about eco-friendly tyres is the flexibility, you can switch up the tyres you use no matter what kind of car you drive.
Increase the lifespan of your tyres by checking your car’s tyre pressure regularly. The optimum pressure for your car’s tyres offers greater driving comfort, safety, and savings in fuel. If the pressure’s too low, fuel consumption increases, as does the rolling resistance. This can lead to longer braking distances and poorer driving behaviour. Excessive air pressure in your tyres also poses a safety risk as it can cause a tyre to weaken and eventually burst.
Rethink the Way You Fill Your Tank
Even though it’s something most people don’t even think about, the way that you fill up your car with gas can have a negative effect on the environment. Overfilling is the main concern, which can increase the chance of harmful gas vapours leaking out of your tank. This not only releases more carbon into the atmosphere, but also forces liquid gas into the canister, weakening its effectiveness.
Drive As Smoothly As Possible
Energy consumption occurs in all driving processes, including acceleration, shifting, and braking. Drive as smoothly as possible to limit consumption in terms of fuel and wear and tear on your car. In other words, try to flow with other traffic rather than accelerating sharply, shifting late, and braking abruptly.
Don’t press down fully on the accelerator when accelerating, and ensure you reduce your speed after you overtake another vehicle. This helps you to avoid abrupt, hard braking, which is a waste of the acceleration energy you applied.
Try to use the engine brake or fuel cut-off when possible, which happens when you release the accelerator when the gear is engaged. For example, you can use the engine brake when approaching a red traffic light. Using the engine brake lets you roll slowly up to the traffic light, instead of applying the brakes to stop right in front of it. You can drive off from the movement as soon as the light turns green.
If you’re on a road you know well, and you know a particular traffic light stays red for more than 20 seconds, switch off your engine. This will save more fuel than waiting at the lights with your car in neutral.
Give the Electrics a Break
The electrics in your car also consume fuel, so use them sparingly to make your driving more eco-friendly. Avoid using your air conditioner when making shorter urban journeys and when travelling at lower speeds. Using the air conditioner when travelling at lower speeds can have a bigger impact on your fuel consumption. Roll down your windows for better air circulation instead.
Use your air conditioner on motorway trips, as it will have less of an impact on your fuel consumption. That said, you should check your air conditioner regularly to ensure it’s in good working order. Other ways to save on fuel by using your car’s electrics sparingly include not using the demister unnecessarily and not switching on the headlights when they’re not needed.
Select the Right Gear
Gears help you to use fuel in the most efficient way, which means selecting the right gear isn’t a matter of simply trying to prevent your car from stalling. It’s entirely possible to putter along for miles in a gear that isn’t the best choice for the conditions. A useful rule of thumb is to use the highest gear possible without making the engine labour. The higher the gear, the less power you’ll use when accelerating. If you’re already driving at a high speed, the built-up momentum should be enough to keep your car going. Listen for sounds that indicate the engine is struggling and let them guide you to move up the gears as your speed increases.
Move from third to fifth gear, skipping the fourth gear – something known as ‘block shifting’. Keep the gears as high as possible and the revs down to prevent unnecessary fuel consumption. If you have an automatic car, avoid using sports mode to save on fuel consumption.
When it comes down to it, being more eco-friendly about your driving habits is as much about a mental shift as it is about a practical one. Planning smarter driving routes, keeping your car maintained, reducing the amount of idling, and driving at a slower, more controlled pace are all easy and zero-cost ways to make your car the green dream our planet and the people on it deserve.