Drive the eco way
17 June 2020
By Hayley Carmichael
There are several ways you can use your car and be kinder to your wallet and the planet – and give yourself a calmer drive at the same time. Try some of these and go for an ‘eco-drive’.
Top Tips to help you Eco Drive
While not driving at all is the best option sometimes it is unavoidable. If it isn’t possible to drive an electric car, then these tips will help reduce the environmental impact of petrol and diesel cars on the roads…
• Drive smoothly: We’ve all seen the teenagers in hot hatchbacks who screech away from the lights only to pull up sharply at the next set. All they’ve achieved is more fuel use and slightly thinner brake pads. Be sympathetic to your car and you’ll find you fill up less often and have lower maintenance bills.
• Look ahead: Try to read the road further ahead and anticipate what you may need to do shortly. If you think someone might pull out in front, ease off the accelerator rather than braking when they actually do. And if you can see the traffic lights ahead are red, gauge your speed so you can keep driving when they change to green, rather than stopping and starting again. Braked energy is lost energy you’ll need to replace from the fuel tank.
• Change up: Modern cars are able to operate under lower engine revolutions than older cars. For diesel cars, and on a flat clear road, you should be moving to a higher gear between 1500 and 2000 revs; for petrol this is 2000 to 2500. Try to reach top gear as early as you can, you’ll use less fuel as you progress.
• Check your tyres: Your tyres are the only contact you have with the road so from a safety point of view you should check pressures and condition monthly anyway. But you can also waste fuel if the pressures aren’t correct: 25% lower pressure adds 10% resistance which you’ll need to replace by using more fuel.
• Declutter: It’s good advice to carry items such as a torch and blanket that you might need in an emergency, but how about everything else? If you go away once a year, take the roof rails and top box off the car when you don’t need them to save up to 10% on fuel for the remainder of the time. Anything heavy in the boot? Take it out!
• Turn it off: some new cars will do this automatically but if you’re stationary for a while why not turn your engine off? Level crossings, heavy congestion or even waiting for a friend – leaving your engine running is burning fuel unnecessarily. Leaving your engine running whilst you’re stationary can burn up to half a litre of fuel an hour.
The great thing about eco-driving is that you can do it whenever you’re in the car – at work or for personal driving. It is an easy way to reduce the impact of choosing to drive on the environment, and you save money into the bargain!