No EV? You Can Still Reduce Your Driving’s Environmental Impact

Cars have an enormous environmental impact, from how they’re manufactured to how they’re used. Here’s how you can do your bit to reduce your impact…

Keep Things As Light As Possible

The heavier your car’s load, the harder its engine is going to have to work. That means more of an environmental impact and a worse fuel economy. You can cut back on emissions by keeping your vehicle free of any items you don’t need to be hauling around. Whether it’s sports gear or foldaway furniture, store it somewhere else.

Buy ‘Cleaner’ Models 

It might sound obvious, but simply buying a cleaner diesel or petrol is a good way of tackling pollution. EV purists would probably disagree, but there has to be a transitional gap between ICE vehicles and electric counterparts. Diesels and petrols are cleaner than they’ve ever been before, largely because of extremely stringent legislation and regulations. Simply enquire next time you visit a dealership. Drivers of company cars definitely want to pay attention to this, as their Benefit in Kind (BiK) tax is partly based on it.

Think About Your Aerodynamics

Car manufacturers slave away for years ensuring their models are aerodynamically efficient. That is to say, contend effectively with wind resistance. So, what do you do? You whack a bike or roof rack on top of your vehicle that’s the size of a large child and then leave it there indefinitely. This is awful for your mpg rating and will make your engine sweat harder to boot.

Resist Your Air Conditioning

Where would we be without air conditioning in our cars? Probably where millions upon millions of drivers were before it became a widespread, even standardised, feature. Whilst freezing winters and boiling summers can be unpleasant, air conditioning really works your car’s engine. Dress appropriately for weather conditions. When driving slowly, consider lowering windows (high speeds lead to drag). Save your air-con for the motorway and A-roads.

Drive Smoothly

How you drive can have a major impact on your car’s environmental impact. Harsh acceleration, late braking and other erratic behaviours make your engine work harder and needlessly. Try to keep everything smooth and seamless. Take your time and imagine you’re trying to balance a glass of water on your bonnet. Your fuel economy will improve, you’ll be safer out on the roads and your car won’t be as polluting.

Don’t Engine Idle

Most modern vehicles are fitted with so-called ‘stop / start’ technology. This automatically switches off the engine when you’re idle; perhaps at a red light, for instance. If you have this feature, make sure it’s turned on. If you don’t have it, switch your engine off if you’re going to be stationary for more than 10 seconds. Idling is so polluting that local councils have begun issuing eye-watering fines to repeat offenders. Schools and hospitals are particularly vulnerable to idling.

Don’t Neglect Servicing And Maintenance

It’s a simple fact that a well-maintained vehicle will consume less fuel, emit fewer emissions and ultimately offer a better driving experience. Those who skip servicing will almost certainly end up forking out more in the long-term, as they face more serious technical problems with their vehicles. Never ignore servicing or warning lights and have a professional investigate issues as and when they arise.

Don’t Neglect Your Tyre Pressures

Michelin claims that a 20% decrease in tyre air pressure will increase fuel consumption by 20%. That means, over 25,000 miles, you’d be losing the equivalent of 5,000 miles of fuel. Think of the amount of wasted money that represents! Low pressures will increase costs and make your car work harder whilst moving; which means an increase in overall emissions. Check your pressures regularly and reduce your tyre’s environmental impact.

Plan Your Trips And Routes

Nowadays, ‘planning’ a trip amounts to putting a postcode into a satnav. The problem is, satellite navigation is still far from perfect. It’ll often take us on the most obvious routes, which are often far from the most efficient. A quick scan of a map or search online will highlight expected traffic, congestion and overall distance. Try to opt for the shortest routes with the least amount of traffic; it’s when we’re at a standstill that we’re often the most polluting.

Considering Alternatives To Driving 

You almost certainly use your car for trips that could be walked or cycled. Next time you run out of milk, why not simply walk to your local corner shop? Sure, it takes a bit longer, but it’s cheaper and greener. Who knows, you might even be lucky enough to enjoy the stroll. Cut back on your miles and your mind, wallet and the planet will thank you for reducing your environmental impact.

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The Autoserve Club can save you time, money and stress. Club Members can receive discounts on servicing and new tyres and will gain access to our professional 24/7 helpline. To learn more, contact our friendly Service Advisers on 0121 521 3500 today.

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