While cars are wonders of engineering, and essential to our everyday life, they are a threat to life on Earth. In the U.S., about 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions come from cars and light trucks such as SUVs. If you are making an effort to reduce your carbon footprint, one of the most important things you can do is to drive greener. Making small changes to your driving style, and how you use your car while driving, can make big differences to your environmental impact.
- Best Practices
Driving technique has a lot to do with your fuel economy. Avoid sudden starts and stops and stick to the speed limit. Not only does speeding and jerky driving kill your KPL (kilometres per litre), it's also dangerous. As a general rule of thumb, keep your engine speeds between 1,200–3,000 RPMs, and up-shift between 2,000–2500 RPMs. Also, drive wise and minimise unnecessary kilometres by doing errands in one trip, getting good directions, and calling ahead.
- Regular Servicing
Get the car serviced regularly (according to the manufacturer's schedule) to maintain engine efficiency.
- Windows Up
Where possible, drive with the windows up to reduce drag and make your fuel consumption more efficient.
- Maintain Pressure
Check tyre pressures regularly and before long journeys. Under-inflated tyres create more rolling resistance and so use more fuel. Getting tyre pressures right is important for safety too. Refer to the handbook as pressures will normally have to be increased for heavier loads.
- Lose weight
Extra weight means extra fuel, so if there's stuff in the boot you don't need on the journey, take it out and leave it at home.
- Don't Rush
Try not to be in a hurry. Stressed driving can be erratic and is uneconomical. Simply relax and try to enjoy the trip.
- Orange Means Stop, Not Rush
Try not to beat the lights. The chances are that if you hit a red light and then try to beat all the following lights, you will rush but miss them anyway. If you drive at a more sedate speed, you will usually find that by the time you reach the next light it will have turned green again.
- Easy On The Aircon
Air conditioning should be limited as it uses more fuel.
- Shut Down
Switch off the engine if you think you will stationary for more than two minutes.
- Slow Your Roll
Keep your speed down as driving at 80–90 kph means your emissions will be lowest. Driving over 100 kph will rapidly increase your emissions.
- Don't Show Off
Avoid unnecessary revving or idling of the engine as this uses more fuel.
- Easy On The Breaks
Harsh acceleration and braking can use up to 30% more fuel and can cause increased wear and tear on the vehicle.
- Maintain Speed
Control your speed. Speed limits are there to be observed, but did you know that travelling at less than 25 kph creates the most pollution? As your speed increases up to 90 kph, your level of pollution decreases.
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