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Eco-driving is driving in a way that suits you, your car and the environment. It’s driving to reduce fuel consumption, greenhouse gas emissions (CO2), accident rates and noise levels, therefore having a positive impact on both you as a driver and the environment.
The benefits of Eco-driving
- Can reduce use and demand for non-renewable natural resources (fuel economy).
- Can reduce greenhouse gases. (CO2)
- Helps improve overall air quality.
- Can reduce ambient noise levels.
- Reducing the need to change tyres and brake pads so often which will also benefit the environment.
Benefits to you
- Contributes to preserving the environment.
- Can reduce running costs, less fuel/ lower spend on vehicle maintenance and lower insurance costs.
- Can reduce stress.
- Can reduce vehicle wear and tear.
- Can increase safety.
What can you do?
There are a number of ways in which you can help to reduce the amount of CO2 being pumped into our atmosphere and at the same time save yourself time and money through decreased fuel consumption. It could be a small change such as making sure you fully tighten your fuel cap, to a big change, like car sharing with a friend to work. Whatever it is that you are able to change, it will make a difference.
Even if the effects on our environment aren’t enough to make you drive economically, the cost savings must! There are loads of small changes you can make to the way you drive every day, which will save you money and help save the environment.
- Where possible refuel at night – Fuel generates fewer hydrocarbon vapours during the fuelling process when it is cool and dark, namely during the evening.
- Make sure you fully tighten your fuel cap – Up to 30 gallons of fuel can be lost annually due to evaporation when the fuel cap is not fully tightened. In addition to the unnecessary cost to the driver/ company, this pollutes the atmosphere with unburned hydrocarbons!
- Try to find a competitive price in a forecourt – Although it is easy to let your petrol light come on and dash to the nearest petrol station at the last minute, this is not an economical practice. Refuelling should be a planned process and one that involves searching for the most competitively priced fuel in your local area. Although it may seem insignificant, you would be surprised at the difference charged between some refuelling stations. For example, try using a website to find the most competitively priced fuel near you. Motorway services are probably the worst place to stop and refuel as their prices far exceed that charged at supermarkets. Also look out for certain fuel providers whose loyalty cards give you money back on fuel or even pay a certain amount to an environmental charity, small changes like this can make a big difference.
Before setting off
- Get plenty of rest before a journey – A well-rested driver is much more alert and in better control over themselves and their vehicle. Ensuring you get enough rest means you are likely to be much calmer behind the wheel and less prone to instances of road rage, erratic driving and heavy breaking.
- Plan your journey – Try to plan your journey so you complete as many jobs in one trip as possible. Completing three jobs in one trip is much more economical than three separate trips.
- Consider if the journey is necessary – If you are only travelling a short distance, try walking or cycling. This will not only benefit the environment but also your health.
- Avoid areas of serious congestion – Check traffic and travel news before you set out, as it may be advisable to avoid a certain route. This will not only save you time but will also reduce the level of emissions expelled. Only travel in rush hour when absolutely necessary, if possible set off an hour early or later to avoid being stuck in long queues and adding to the congestion on our roads.
Slow Down and Save Fuel
Speed limits are the maximum lawful speeds that may be driven in ideal circumstances, not the minimum you should expect to drive at. Not only is driving above the speed limit uneconomical but it’s also extremely dangerous, However, did you know that driving at 15mph or under creates the most pollution? Aim to keep speed between 20mph
and 60mph but always abide to the speed limit set in that area.
The benefits of driving slower are particularly evident where large trucks and goods vehicles are concerned. With these types of vehicle, fuel mileage decreases by 2.2% for every 1mph increment over 55mph. However, driving at 15mph or under creates the most pollution. Aim to keep speed between 20mph and 60mph but always abide to the speed limit set in that area.
Not many people are aware of the fact that modern vehicle technology improvements have eliminated the need to warm up vehicle engines. You should not leave your vehicle idling as it produces excess emissions and wastes fuel, this is why certain makes and models of cars now turn on/off automatically when you have stopped at lights etc. Where possible
turn the ignition key off when operating away from public roads. Ideal situations where this can reduce fuel emissions are in a driveway, a car park or in a car wash.
Note: This should only ever be done where there is NO possibility of collision. Turning the ignition key off may disable certain vehicle features, including
safety features such as airbags. It is recommended that you leave your vehicle running in city traffic or similar busy conditions.
Keep an eye on your revs and change up before 2500rpm (petrol) and 2,000rpm (diesel). Revving up aggressively wastes fuel and increases emissions.
Harsh acceleration and braking can use up to 30% more fuel, causes increased wear and tear on the vehicle and is dangerous, particularly in urban areas.
Try to maintain a consistent throttle pressure, as this can minimise gear changes, which could help improve fuel economy. If you have a manual
transmission, fuel economy typically improves when shifts occur at lower speeds. You should never rest your foot on the clutch or brake pedal as this could prove extremely dangerous use the foot rest if you have one.