With so many of the population relying on cars as their main form of transport, understandably there is some reluctant to swapping to a “greener” form of transport. However, being a green driver doesn’t mean resorting to extreme measures, and it could be as simple as changing the petrol you use.
Fuel consumption by road vehicles contributes dramatically to environmental damage. Therefore, choosing a more eco-friendly fuel next time you’re at the petrol pumps will make a bigger difference than you might think. Helen Kinsella from The Green Home explains:
“Petrol stations often offer a range of fuels, from basic to premium. You may find that a higher quality fuel is more efficient than a cheaper one, though it can often take a bit of experimenting with different fuels or brands to see if your engine has a preference. Diesel cars are also widely considered to be more economical, so if you’re looking to buy a new car, diesel could be an option to consider.”
Gadgets such as fuel additives and filters which claim to reduce fuel consumption are also a popular option, as they are a cheaper quick fix for the environmentally conscious. Having said that, a better fuel economy can also be achieved through a simple change in your driving behaviour, Helen says.
“It is definitely possible to save fuel, but this can only be done with smoother, smarter driving and forward planning to help you get the most out of your journey. If I could recommend one gadget to help you improve your fuel economy it would be a sat nav (or go back to basics – a map!) Simply planning the quickest, most direct route and stopping yourself from getting lost helps to reduce unnecessary journeys and stop-start driving – the two biggest contributors to fuel waste and emissions.”
Single car occupancy journeys by commuters are one of the biggest culprits of avoidable environmental damage when travelling. It also adds to rush hour congestion, a bug bare for any driver.
Car share schemes are the easiest way to avoid this. Most companies and local councils run opt-in schemes, which allow you to find other motorists going your way. There are also companies such as City Car Club, which allow you access to vehicles 24/7. They hope that, by offering this service, people will now no longer need to own their own car, reducing emissions and in turn saving you money in the long run.
For those who want to go the extra mile (and have cash to spare) then a “green” car could be the answer. There are now plenty of cars that run off alternative fuel such as hydrogen fuel cells and biodiesel. An electric car is another avenue worth looking into; however, there has been much debate about their environmental impact, as Helen explains.
“While it is true that production of electric cars generates higher emissions and costs more than conventional petrol and diesel cars, their overall impact comes down to just how clean the electricity in that particular country is. After all, when used, an electric car is just as much powered by ‘the grid’ as our lighting, televisions, computers, etc.
“Taking into account the energy used to manufacture electric cars, they are considered to be equal to or better performing than the average car. In countries which rely heavily on coal to generate their electricity, an electric car is barely greener than the average petrol-powered transport. Here in the UK, where energy generation is mostly produced by gas, and renewable resources are gradually increasing, electric cars are seen to equate to the top performing hybrid cars on the market. In countries such as Norway, Switzerland and Brazil where electricity is cleaner, electric cars far surpass anything else on the market in terms of emissions.”
No matter how small your budget, everyone can do their bit to be “greener” on the road without sending your car to the scrap yard.
You can find more of Helen’s top tips here.
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