How to Make Sure You’re Being Environmentally Conscious as a Driver

Let’s face it – driving, while convenient, is damaging to the environment. Fortunately, there are many ways to be more environmentally conscious when driving. Here are some handy tips and tricks on being more eco-aware when it comes to your vehicular footprint.


Choose your car wisely

If you have a choice in the matter, there are numerous things to consider if you wish to purchase a car that is more environmentally friendly. These days, manufacturers have caught wind of consumers desire to be more eco-conscious, so they are creating cars that are more efficient, cleaner and better for the environment.

When looking at new cars, the first thing to consider is the fuel economy. The higher the number of kilometres per litre, the better the fuel economy. In simple terms, you’ll be able to get more bang for your buck when you fill up the tank.

Additionally, many people are turning to electric cars to do their part in saving the environment. However, this may not be the best option depending on your circumstances. Affordable hybrid cars are also another great option.


Keep up the maintenance

Once on the road, maintaining your vehicle with regular services and checks will do wonders for your footprint. As they say, prevention is the best cure.

Essentially, ensuring your car has regular checks means it will require less fuel to run properly. Also, keeping the tyre pressure at the optimal amount will improve fuel economy; reducing your fuel consumption by three to four per cent.  


Avoid idling

It may seem like a good idea to do on those cold winter mornings, but idling your car to let it warm up is a waste. Consider this; just five minutes of idling can amount to half a kilogram of greenhouse gas in the air. Also, idling for longer than 10 seconds or so generates more pollution than constantly stopping and starting. This is why so many of the new cars have a ‘stop-start’ feature, where the engine stops when your foot is off the pedal for a few seconds, rather than idling. This is also a fantastic feature for lessening your fuel consumption.   


Travel lightly

You’ve probably heard this when it comes to travelling the world, but it’s also the case when it comes to driving. The heavier the car, the more fuel is needed to make it go. In fact, for every 50kg extra you carry, you’re generally losing about one or two per cent in efficiency. Keep all heavy items out of the car, unless they’re absolutely necessary.


Slow and steady wins the race

Avoid quick acceleration and slamming on your brakes. Speeding simply makes your fuel economy fall dramatically. If you have the option, use cruise control on freeways; this will ensure your car remains at a steady speed, reducing the amount of fuel needed to make it move. If this isn’t enough to convince you, constantly starting and stopping, quick accelerations and slamming on the brakes put excessive wear and tear on your car. Always accelerate gradually and take your time when braking.


Plan, plan, plan

Efficient driving is all about efficient timing. If you’re out and about already, do your errands while your car is already being used. That way, it only needs to be on the road once during the day.

If you can, stagger your work hours so you can drive to and from work (if you have to) without having to sit in peak hour traffic. The stop/start motion of peak hour traffic not only uses more fuel but it also keeps your car on the road for an unnecessarily long time. If you can start work earlier or later and finish work outside of normal times then that’s a great way to help with emissions.

It’s also a good idea to talk to people about carpooling. If you have people in your area who are going in the same direction as you, share the load and then walk the rest of the way. Less cars on the road means less pollution, less spend on petrol, reduces wear on the car and helps with congestion.


Think about your fuel

There are so many options at the pump that it can become confusing. For some older cars, there is no option but normal unleaded petrol. However, some petrol is better than others. This may mean favouring a particular brand of petrol or choosing a different type of fuel.

The changes may seem insignificant, but add them all up and your environmental footprint will decrease dramatically. Of course, the best option is public transport when it comes to being environmentally conscious, but there will always be times when a car is your only option. Be smart about your driving and you’ll help the environment along the way.