The concept of smarter travel choices is about thinking differently, how could you reduce the amount of travelling you do, how could your lifestyle improve?
For example, could you have your weekly food shop delivered instead of driving yourself and walking or cycling to the local convenience store for smaller purchases? One supermarket van delivering to several properties could take many cars off the road thus improving air quality and reducing congestion. Just making small changes can really add up and everyone’s efforts combined can make an impact.
Some employers are more flexible and adaptable in their working practices, such as allowing flexi-time to fit around public transport services. We understand, of course, this isn’t suitable for everyone and every profession and we understand that driving is sometimes necessary. However, here are some tips on how to drive a little more economically:
♦ Be sure to check your tyre pressure regularly, especially before long journeys as under-inflated tyres will use up more fuel.
♦ Your car will be at its most efficient if it’s being regularly serviced.
♦ Although handy to have when needed, roof-racks and boxes increase your fuel consumption, take them off if they’re not being used to reduce drag and save on fuel.
♦ Lose any unnecessary baggage, extra weight means extra fuel!
♦ Plan ahead and know where you’re going. Getting lost lengthens journeys and also means using up more fuel.
♦ Combine short trips, cold starts use more fuel so it pays to group your errands together when you can.
♦ Start your engine when you’re ready to set off on your journey, an idle engine wastes fuel and your engine will warm up quicker when you’re moving too.
♦ Drive smoothly, accelerate gently and read the road ahead to avoid unnecessary braking.
♦ Stick to the speed limits, the faster you go the greater the fuel consumption.
♦ Cut down on the air-con; it increases fuel consumption at low speeds.
♦ Try to keep your car moving even at slow speeds as stopping then starting again uses more fuel than rolling.
♦ Newer car models (since 2014) have been fitted with gear shift indicators, these encourage you to use the most efficient gear for your speed. Try changing gears at an engine speed of 2,000 rpm for diesel, or 2,500 for petrol.
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 hundreds of fewer moving parts and associated mechanical problems, and they are better for the environment with no exhaust emissions (EV do not even have exhaust!).