Weaver’s Meadow, Great Cornard

Eco Driving

Although driving a car is the least sustainable choice of travel, it is sometimes a necessity. There are ways in which you can reduce the impacts of car travel on the environment, save money, reduce energy use, CO2 emissions and pollution.

Maintenance

  • Servicing: get the car serviced regularly to maintain engine efficiency.
  • Engine oil: make sure you use the right specification of engine oil. 
  • Tyres: check tyre pressures regularly and before long journeys; under-inflated tyres create more rolling resistance and use more fuel.

Before you go

  • Reduce excess weight: remove any large or heavy items that you don’t need, this will decrease fuel consumption.
  • Streamline: roof-racks and boxes add wind resistance and so increase fuel consumption. If you don’t need it, take it off.
  • Don’t get lost: plan unfamiliar journeys to reduce the risk of getting lost and check the traffic before you leave.
  • Combine short trips: cold starts use more fuel so it pays to combine errands.
  •  Consider alternatives: if it’s a short journey (a couple of miles or so), could you walk or cycle rather than taking the car?

En-route

  • Easy does it: drive smoothly, accelerate gently and read the road ahead to avoid unnecessary braking.
  • Rolling: if you can keep the car moving all the time, the better; stopping then starting again uses more fuel than rolling.
  • Cut down on the air con: it increases fuel consumption at low speeds, but at higher speeds, the effects are less noticeable.
  • Stick to speed limits: the faster you go the greater the fuel consumption and pollution. Driving at 70mph uses up to 9% more fuel than at 60mph and up to 15% more than at 50mph. 

Switch off or stay idle?

For cars without an automatic stop/start system, here are three questions to help you decide whether you should be switching your engine off or sitting idle.
1. Is your engine warm?
2. Do you expect to be staying put for at least 3 minutes?
3. Does your car have a good battery?
If you answer yes to all three, it’s safe to say it’s worthwhile switching off your engine.


The future of car travel is electric

If you’re thinking about a new car, why not look at a hybrid or electric vehicle? Today’s electric and hybrid cars can drive over 320 kilometres on a single charge and you could save yourself hundreds of pounds compared to petrol or diesel cars. Visit Goultralow.com to find a handy ‘home charging calculator’ that can help you to find out how much it costs to charge an EV at home. Also, there are almost 20,000 public charging point connectors in the UK including rapid chargers.

There are significant benefits to driving electric or hybrid vehicles; they are cheaper to run than combustion engines, potentially saving up to two thirds of the cost on petrol or diesel (see a ‘Journey cost savings calculator’ here), they are cheaper to maintain because of hundreds of fewer moving parts and associated mechanical problems, and they are better for the environment with no exhaust emissions (EVs don’t even have an exhaust!).

To find EV charging points throughout the UK visit the handy CarWow or Zap Map websites.

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