Tips for greener motoring

Posted: February 9, 2009 in environment
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Green motoring
Image by reflexer via Flickr

Your driving habits, the type of vehicle you drive and the conditions under which you drive will affect your vehicle’s environmental performance. Follow these tips for greener driving.

Minimise your vehicle use

Think about your travel needs prior to your travel. Planned travel decisions will result in fewer trips and more efficient/cheaper travel than unplanned decisions made ‘on the go’. Some travel planning tips:

  • Plan to do a number of errands in one trip rather than several trips and save both time and fuel (for the first couple of minutes of a car trip the engine is cold and this results in an increase in fuel consumption per kilometre).
  • Patronise shops near to you whenever possible to reduce the distances you travel by car. Walk or cycle to your local shops if you can.
  • Avoid peak-hour traffic whenever possible.
  • Use alternative transport, eg. public transport (bus, train, tram or ferry), walking or cycling. These alternative methods of travel are often cheaper, and may provide other benefits including increased fitness.

Drive in high gear

The engine runs most efficiently between around 1,500 and 2,500 rpm (lower in diesels). To maintain these low revs you should change up through the gears as soon as practical and before the revs reach 2,500 rpm. Automatic transmissions will shift up more quickly and smoothly if you ease back slightly on the accelerator once the car gathers momentum.

Drive smoothly – avoid unnecessary acceleration

Drive at a good distance from the car in front so you can anticipate and travel with the flow of traffic. You will be able to see such things as traffic lights changing or cars turning and minimise your fuel use through braking and accelerating back up to full speed.

Minimise fuel wasted in idling

Minimise fuel wasted in idling by stopping the engine whenever your car is stopped or held up for an extended period of time. By having the engine switched off, even for a short period, you will save more fuel than is lost from the burst of fuel involved in restarting the engine. The net increased wear and tear from this practice is negligible.

Speed kills economy

High speeds result in high fuel consumption. At 110 km/h your car can use up to 25% more fuel than it would cruising at 90 km/h.

Minimise aerodynamic drag

Additional parts on the exterior of a vehicle such as roof racks and spoilers, or having the window open, increases air resistance and fuel consumption, in some cases by over 20%.

Look after your vehicle’s tyres

Inflate your vehicle’s tyres to the highest pressure recommended by the tyre manufacturer and make sure your wheels are properly aligned (remember to keep your spare tire inflated as well). Looking after your tyres will not only reduce your fuel consumption it will also extend tyre life and improve handling.

Use air conditioning sparingly

Air conditioners can use extra fuel when operating. However, at speeds of over 80 km/h, the use of air conditioning is better for fuel consumption than an open window.

Travel light

Don’t carry more people or cargo than you have to. The more a vehicle carries the more fuel it uses; an extra 50kg of weight can increase your fuel bill by around 2%.

Service your vehicle regularly

Keeping your vehicle well tuned will minimise its environmental impact.

[Source: Green Vehicle Guide]

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