‘Green driving’ is a subject you will have heard about from radio and television programmes, newspapers and the motoring press, but what exactly is ‘green driving’ and how can you benefit from adopting it?
Put simply, the way you drive, directly affects fuel consumption and emissions, by adopting a ‘green approach’ you can reduce both by a substantial amount, saving you money on fuel costs and reducing pollution in the air we all breathe.
There are other benefits, ‘green driving’ is less stressful on both the driver and passengers, yet will add at most only a couple of minutes to your journey, you will have more time for observation ahead and consequently are more able to allow for the errors of other drivers.
- Smooth driving reduces fuel consumption – plan well ahead, anticipating traffic, use steady rather than harsh acceleration.
- Anticipate traffic flow, be prepared to adjust your speed early and avoid late or harsh braking.
- Change upward gears at the right time – at 2000rpm for diesel cars / 2500rpm for petrol cars.
- Use higher gears when you can, at 40mph a car will use 20% less fuel in 5th than in 4th gear.
- Modern engines are designed to start and go – warming the engine up while stationary or pumping the ‘gas’ pedal wastes fuel, adds engine wear and increases emissions.
- Check your tyre pressures regularly – under-inflated tyres can increase your fuel consumption by up to 3%
- Switch your engine off if you know you won’t be moving for a while in heavy traffic.
- Check your tyre pressures regularly – under-inflated tyres can increase your fuel consumption by up to 3%.
- Stick to the speed limits – at 70mph you could be using up to 30% more fuel than at 50mph.
- Remove unnecessary weight and roof racks – they increase the weight and air resistance so they increase the amount of fuel you use.
- Air-conditioning increases fuel consumption at low speed so use only when necessary to keep windows clear. At higher speeds the reverse is true, close all windows and sunroof keeping the interior cool with your air-con or climate control.
Weekly checks for all vehicles
- Wash and clean your vehicle, particularly in winter, ensuring the windows, lights and door mirrors are clean will improve vision and safety.
- Check and top-up fluids such as engine oil, coolant, brake fluid, power steering and windscreen washer reservoir levels.
- Check tyres for damage, air pressure and tread depth, for added safety consider replacing tyres when the tread depth is 3mm or less.
- Check all lights work and light correctly (including instrument panel).
- Check wiper blades clear the screen without smears or juddering.
- Check the exhaust system for leaks and rectify as necessary.
- Check the owner’s manual for your vehicle.
Information on how to perform these tasks is contained in the vehicle owner’s manual supplied with the vehicle. This manual will also cover any other additional maintenance activities that are recommended for your vehicle.
Servicing your vehicle
Stick to the manufacturer’s routine service intervals on mileage and dates. These vary across manufacturer, model specification and type of engine. Full details are normally detailed in the owner’s manual supplied with the car.
If you drive substantially less annual miles than the service interval permits, consider staggering the service and MOT inspections, that will give up to double the emission checks each year helping your car perform better for the same cost.
MOT your vehicle
Taking the annual MOT test or goods vehicle test will ensure that your vehicle if over 3-years of age is checked at least once a year to see that it complies with key roadworthiness and environmental requirements.