More and more of us are looking for changes we can make in our everyday lives to become eco-friendlier. However, while we’re ditching plastic bags in our droves and filling up our reusable coffee cups, cars are something many of us still rely on day-to-day.
The majority of Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions now come from transport, but there are steps we can all take to reduce our impact. You could swap your car for a bike, and cycle in to work, or car share with a nearby colleague — but what about the changes you can make to your car itself?
Inflate your tyres
Do you keep meaning to check your tyre pressure? We should all probably be doing it more often as under-inflated tyres are harder to roll, meaning your engine must chug harder to get you going and use more fuel in the process.
The correct pressure can vary between cars and tyres, but you should be able to find yours on the inside of your door or in your car owner’s manual. Most petrol stations offer free or low-cost air refills, making it easy to top up your tyres at the same time as you top up on fuel.
It might be convenient to keep everything under the sun in your boot just in case, but it’s not good for the environment. Heavier cars use more fuel, so try to remove any excess weight before you get on the road.
Leave things like spare oil, booster seats and bikes in the garage or shed until you plan to use them. The fuel you’ll save will be incremental at first, but in the long term it can make a difference.
Get regular check-ups
Looking after your car is the best way to maintain and improve its reliability and fuel economy. That includes carrying out oil changes to keep your engine lubricated, installing new spark plugs and fuel filters to keep it efficient, and so on.
Regularly servicing your car may involve the occasional outlay, but it will make your car cheaper and greener to run in the long term. As with many other areas of life, it’s important to carefully organise your money to cover any necessary upgrades.
Change the way you drive
While our driving ability is often a source of great pride, there’s a good chance you could be driving in a less than eco-friendly manner. Aggressive driving with rapid acceleration and hard braking uses more fuel than a smoother approach, which features such as cruise control can help you to maintain.
Always try to avoid idling your engine while sat still. Most cars will display your average miles per gallon in the dashboard display, so if you do adopt a greener driving style you should see this number increase.