02 Nov 2012, 10:34
According to research carried out by Ward's in 2010, the number of cars owned globally is in excess of one billion. With so many cars the mind boggles at how the atmospheric pollution emitted by these cars must be contributing to our current climate change.
It seems somewhat unreasonable to ask every driver to give up their cars, but there are a few simple driving habits that you can commit to in order to drive more eco-friendly - and save money on fuel as well. So there really is no excuse not to give these driving habits a go.
Slow down early
Motorway driving tends to be more fuel efficient than driving in the city where streets tend to be busier and have traffic lights to control traffic. This increase in ‘stop-start' driving increases fuel consumption as the driver is constantly having to accelerate and then kill their speed when they approach a traffic light.
To counteract this, instead of keeping your foot on the gas and then braking at the last minute, try removing your foot from the gas pedal early and come to a lighter stop with the brakes at the appropriate time. When your foot is off the gas pedal you will be saving fuel and it can make you a safer driver since it will get you into the habit of slowing down early when potential hazards appear.
Use the correct gear
Using the correct gear is vital for saving fuel - in some cases cruising in third gear can be 25 per cent less efficient than cruising in fifth gear! When accelerating, shifting up a gear as soon as it is sensible to do so will help to reduce fuel consumption since higher gears generally consume less fuel with the sacrifice of losing some power. Most engines perform best when kept at around 2000-2500 Revolutions Per Minute (RPM) so try to maintain this.
Remove the clutter
A heavier car will need more power to run and will therefore increase fuel consumption, so take a look in your car for any unnecessary weight. Is the back seat really a good place for those stack of books or should they be in your bookcase? Although that heavy roof rack came with the car, you've never once used it and nor do you ever foresee yourself ever needing it, so does it really need to be on your car? As far as fuel efficiency tips go, this isn't going to yield the most benefit, but it'll definitely help make your car look neater and well looked after so there really is no reason not do it.
Vehicle tracking can help to plan routes much better to find the shortest or fastest route to take. It works by installing a small GPS transmitter in your vehicle - the tracking system will then allow the user to map the routes that they have taken and, in time, the user will be able to use this data to create a faster route. This method is currently being used by a number of businesses whose employees are required to travel long distances repetitively.
Although there are some obvious benefits unrelated to eco-friendly driving, many people are not aware that driving too fast can be detrimental to a car's full efficiency. When cruising on the motorway most cars have a speed range in which they feel most comfortable; find this comfortable spot and stick to it where possible. If you can't find this spot then most cars perform best whilst doing around 55-65 Miles Per Hour (MPH).
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