Although we’ll always need cars to get from A to B, that isn’t to say we shouldn’t take the time to consider the effect that motoring has on the world around us. Driving has a substantial impact on the environment, but there are ways this can be countered. Read on to find out more about what steps you can take.
One obvious place to start is the kind of car you have. If you’re still driving the same car you bought in the early 90s, it’s unlikely that it’s going to be the most eco-friendly model on the road (even if was when you got it), so now could be a good time to upgrade.
Heading to your local dealership is likely to be the first action to spring to mind in searching for a car, whether you’re considering getting a brand new set of wheels or want a second hand model.
However, it would be a mistake to think you always have to buy from such retailers. In fact, by attending auctions for VW used cars and other vehicle brands, you ought to find you can get a fantastic price on a motor, often for much less than you would pay from a traditional dealership.
Wherever you choose to buy a car from, it’s worth looking closely at models’ environmental performance in areas such as how many miles per gallon of fuel it uses. It probably goes without saying, but large vehicles with powerful engines tend to have a big carbon footprint, so if you don’t really need a high-performance motor you should probably look for something more compact.
Generally speaking, diesel cars tend to be more fuel-efficient than their petrol counterparts, especially for those who drive long distances over, so it’s worth seeking these out at auction halls or showrooms. If you’re thinking of buying the former and are really hoping to reduce your emissions, you should look for models that meet Euro 5 or Euro 6 standards. Hybrid cars such as the VW Touareg and Toyota Prius are also good options for emissions-conscious drivers. Such models feature a regenerative braking system where the kinetic energy produced when the brakes are applied is converted into electricity to charge the battery. In conventional petrol and diesel motors, this energy is wasted.
Of course, being a green motorist doesn’t start and end with what car you have. To really minimise your environmental impact while behind the wheel, you also need think carefully about how the way you drive.
Ensuring your vehicle is maintained on a regular basis should also improve its efficiency, so if you’ve just bought a vehicle at auction it’s worth having it serviced. Check the sale catalogue and you’ll find out when a car’s MOT is due, though you should probably always have it looked over as soon as you’ve bought it.
Removing any unnecessary clutter from your car before you start a journey will reduce the vehicle’s weight, while making sure tyres are inflated to the levels specified by the manufacturer should help to maintain maximum fuel efficiency.
While out on the road, you should also accelerate and brake as smoothly as possible in order to conserve fuel. Other eco-friendly steps you can take include avoiding using air conditioning unnecessarily and turning your engine off if you’re going to be stationary for more than a few minutes.
What steps are you taking to be a more eco-friendly motorist? Leave a comment and let us know.