How environmentally friendly is your car?

Environmentally friendly car
Smaller cars are often more fuel efficient. Photo: Gessinger, Pixabay

When you’re driving often for work, it can be easy to forget the impact you have on the environment. But with the right guidance and attitude, you can make a world of difference and have an environmentally friendly journey. 

Once you take stock of your environmental footprint, you can implement practical ways to become an environmentally friendly driver.

Considering your environmental footprint while driving

Before even getting on the road, cars consume a lot of energy. The impact of production alone – using materials like steel, rubber, paints and plastics – leaves a massive environmental footprint, as does the disposal of cars at the end of their lives.

However, the biggest environmental impact of driving comes from fuel consumption; in most cases the emissions of air pollution and greenhouse gases. Car pollution is one of the major causes of global warming. This pollution affects the air, soil and water across the world, which in turn depletes the ozone layer.

For many of us, this is all common knowledge by now. Green technology has become a viable option in response to this, transforming the way we build homes to how we conduct power. However, at times it can hard to take a step back and consider our own impact – particularly if you’re constantly travelling for work. So the question is, how can you make sure you’re driving in an environmentally responsible manner?

5 tips for becoming an environmentally friendly driver

Ready to become a lean, green, driving machine? Here are five simple ways to get started.

Use a fuel-efficient car

Do you really need that giant petrol guzzler? The most fuel-efficient cars are lightweight, with small-capacity petrol engines. Diesel engines are usually too large for small cars, while electric cars (though the most environmentally friendly), can be too pricey to consider.

To find the fuel-efficient car of your dreams, use car comparison sites, talk to your local dealers, or chat with friends and family who are driving environmentally friendly vehicles to gain insights.

Lighten the load

The more weight your car carries, the more fuel it uses. The more fuel you use, the more damage you’re doing to the environment. It’s a simple equation, but a good one to keep in mind if you’re using your car as a travelling storage facility. So try cut down on the items you’re driving with, only transporting what’s absolutely necessary.

Maintain your car

Just like humans, cars run better when they’re healthy. Keeping your car maintained not only decreases your environmental impact, it also saves you money. In order to make sure your vehicle runs efficiently, make sure you:

  • Set the tyres to the required inflation
  • Keep the engine tuned
  • Have the the fuel filter replaces when needed
  • Check the condition of the engine filter
  • Use narrower tyres

For the best service, take your car to a professional. They can pick up on things you missed, and ensure your car is as fuel-efficient as possible.  

Slow down

Want to save fuel? Then keep your foot off the accelerator. At 110 km/h, your car is using up to 25 per cent more fuel than it would at 90 km/h. If you want to driver faster on the highway – and also save fuel – use cruise control if your car is equipped with this feature.

Be a green cleaner

Even when your car is parked, it can still have a negative impact on the environment – especially if you’re using harmful chemicals to clean it.

Keep it green by using conservative amounts of water to wash the exterior. If you need to use chemicals, combine dishwashing liquid or laundry detergent with warm water, using a sponge to do the dirty work.

For the interior, use homemade solutions to wipe down surfaces and freshen upholstery. Use concoctions of oil and lemon juice for dashboards, vinegar for windows, and baking soda and essential oils for natural air fresheners.

You’re in the driver’s seat

Above all, make sure you’re safe on the road! That means driving to suit the conditions of the road, taking breaks during long trips and fixing any problems that would affect the condition of your car. Combine this with the some simple eco-friendly driving techniques, and you’ll be on your way to reducing your vehicles carbon footprint.