Across the world, governments are implementing targets designed to get their citizens driving greener. Years that sound a long way in the future, such as 2030 or 2040, are being suggested as targets to get emissions out of our breathable air, and polluting vehicles out of our cities. The really staggering thing about some of these targets is quite how close they are – as futuristic as 2030 might sound, it is now just ten years away, which is simultaneously exciting and frightening.
There are a few details to be ironed out. One of these is the not inconsiderable fact that a target is one thing, but actual laws backing these initiatives remain elusive. Another is that the targets may be a long way in the future but the trend for non-polluting vehicles is right here and right now. Many people may have already bought their last fossil fuel-powered vehicle, but not everybody is in a position to buy an electric car and until the infrastructure exists to recharge those cars on a wide enough basis, for some people there is no point in buying one.
This being the case, it is important to ask yourself what else you can do to make sure you’re driving green; you might not be ready to get behind the wheel of a perfectly green car, but you can make some changes now that will make a difference.
1. Only use the pedals when you really need to
If you drive a petrol or diesel vehicle, then there is no getting away from the fact that there will be some fumes being put into the atmosphere, but you can have a definitive impact on your emission footprint. Being aware of when you need to accelerate, and when you can coast, is something to which you should pay more attention. We all have places we need to go, for sure – but do you need to get on the gas so you can be at the next red light before everyone else? The more you accelerate, the more you will end up braking – and therefore, the more you will need to accelerate during your journey. This burns more fuel, and you’d better believe it means you release more emissions.
If you know that there is a turn coming up, or there are traffic signals in the near future, let the car use the kinetic energy you have already built up. You’d be stunned by how much more mpg you can get out of your car with careful driving – and many of the more modern breed vehicles have counters that show how efficiently you’re driving. Practice smart driving and see how high you can get your efficiency.
2. Have your car looked at on a regular basis
The older a car gets, the more likely it is to pollute. That’s just an unavoidable fact; more things will go wrong with it, and it will have to work harder for the same outcomes. However, this is a very incremental change in most vehicles, and by making sure that your car is looked after you can reduce your impact on the planet. By taking your car to a garage or a trusted diesel mechanic it is possible to nip any polluting problems in the bud before they become serious.
Not only is this common sense for people who want to get the most out of their car, it is also a way to identify problems before they become chronic, at which point you might be forced to replace your car and buying from new is rarely a way to bring down your carbon footprint.
3. Drive less
There is no getting around it, the best way to drive greener is to drive less often. How many trips do you take without really thinking about them? For most of us, it’s a surprisingly large number, we’ll hop in the car for any reason, and often for journeys that could easily be made on foot. With so many options available including carpooling, public transport and even cycling; it makes sense to sometimes leave the car at home and give the planet a break.
Using your car only when you need it means the car itself will last longer, you’re less likely to develop faults that will lead to more pollution, and you’ll save money into the bargain. It may take some getting used to, but whenever you pick up your car keys, ask yourself if this trip needs to be made, and if so, does it need to be in a car?
It is possible to drive greener without buying an electric car and by the time the world’s governments have figured out what they want from drivers, you’ll have learned a few things and saved some cash into the bargain.
Photographs courtesy of motorverso.com