A Few Ways Drivers Can Be More Environmentally Conscious
If you are one of the millions of drivers on the road, you need to consider what is happening to the environment as you drive toward your destination. There’s no escaping the fact that driving is one of the least environmentally friendly modes of transports. But there are many routes and situations where walking, cycling or taking public transport just isn’t a practical choice. That doesn’t mean you can’t take some small but important steps to reduce the environmental impact of driving.
Ways Drivers Can Be More Environmentally Conscious
Listed below are a few simple ways that you can be more environmentally conscious as a driver:
Improve your gas mileage
There are several small bits of car maintenance you can keep on top of that will increase the number of miles you can travel using the same amount of fuel (gas mileage). Start off by ensuring your tires are always properly inflated; it’s safer, it will help your tires last longer, and it improves your gas mileage. When your tires are underinflated it makes your car engine work harder to turn them, wasting more fuel.
You should also be using the recommended motor oil for your car, regularly replace air filters, and generally keeping it well maintained to make sure you’re getting the best possible gas mileage from your vehicle.
Plan out your routes
Planning out your route before you hit the road will not only save you time, but it’s also going to be better for the environment. Check out the most efficient route and avoid any lengthy detours — a bit of planning will also ensure you don’t get lost. If you plan your route out using something like Google Maps you’ll be able to see when traffic is at its worst, by avoiding peak rush hour you’ll spend less time sitting in traffic and consume a lot less fuel.
Use a fuel card
If you’re managing a fleet of company cars then fuel cards are not only a good way to cut down fuel costs, but they’ll also help you to be more environmentally friendly. By using a fuel card you reduce the amount of paperwork you produce — there is no need for paper receipts, invoices, or expenses forms.
While this might seem like a very small way to be more environmentally conscious, making small, sustainable changes that you’re able to keep up is better than trying to make unrealistic steps that you give up on in a few weeks.
You’ll also be able to track exactly how much you’re spending on fuel, which helps find ways to optimize your journeys and reduce fuel consumption. For example, a Tesco fuel card allows drivers to fill up at a network of low-priced petrol stations. When you use a Tesco supermarket fuel card all the data related to the purchase such as the amount of fuel and cost is sent directly to your online dashboard without the need for any paperwork.
Fuel cards are just one of the ways in which your business can reduce its environmental impact — incorporating green technology into your business such as LED lights and solar panels can also help save money and the planet.
If you’re driving to and from work every day, there’s a good chance you could share lifts with one of your colleagues — you’ll both save money on fuel, and one less car commuting every day will be good for the environment. In some cities there are even dedicated lanes for cars with two or more people in at peak hours, so you might be able to cut some time off your commute as well. If you can’t find someone you know to carpool with, then there are a number of rideshare apps.
It might be tempting to get somewhere quicker, but driving at higher speeds is going to consume more fuel. And so is breaking suddenly. Sticking to the speed limits isn’t just good driving practice, it’s going to save you money and be better for the environment. Keep a constant speed, accelerate gently, and brake slowly whenever possible to avoid burning through too much fuel.
Use less air conditioning
Getting into a car in the summer months is sometimes like stepping into a sauna, but before you switch the air conditioning it’s worth bearing in mind the environmental impact.
Air conditioning in your vehicle not only burns more fuel, but the heat inside your car is pumped out making it warmer outside. In addition, most air conditioning systems use greenhouse gases that are far stronger than carbon dioxide, which leaks out into the atmosphere, particularly from vehicles.
If you’re trying to be more environmentally conscious you might wind down the windows instead of turning the air conditioner on, but this isn’t always the best solution as it causes extra drag that also uses more fuel. If you’re driving under 55mph it’s generally better to have the windows down, and over that the air conditioning is going to be better for the environment.
Drive an electric car
If you’re serious about reducing the environmental impact of your driving then it’s worth considering an electric car. Fossil fuels are unsustainable, and however carefully you drive a petrol or diesel-powered car still produces large amounts of carbon dioxide.
Research shows that electric cars will produce less pollution and greenhouse gases during their lifespan than petrol or diesel cars, even taking into account manufacturing and recharging. An electric car might be an expensive investment upfront but the long term environmental benefits compared to a regular car are hard to argue with.
By planning out your journey, maintaining your car, and making some small adjustments to your driving habits it’s possible to make some noticeable reductions in the environmental impact of your car journeys.