PUBLISHED ON JULY 3RD, 2015 BY DAVID THORPE
What might be the best and least best tactics for reducing the environmental impact of your travel? Here they are, from best to worst:
- Avoid motorised transport completely;
- Use public transport;
- Use a car share powered by renewable energy;
- Use a car share powered by petrol;
- Use a car share powered by diesel;
- Have your own small car;
- Have your own larger vehicle and use it for every trip
- Fly loads.
Walking and cycling are the most common ways to avoid motorised transport. Not only are they healthy, they help you to notice what is happening around you as well as stop and talk to people you meet. Walking frequently along the same route you’ll notice all the subtle changes that happen as the seasons rotate. Walking and cycling help to nurture a sense of community.
Fuel consumption also depends enormously on driver behaviour. Here are ten tips on how to reduce fuel consumption, some of them obvious, some of them less so:
- accelerate slowly and smoothly and change to a higher gear as soon as possible;
- don’t drive over 60 miles an hour unless you have to. Driving at 85 mph can use up to 25% more fuel than driving at 70 mph, which uses 8% more than driving at 60 mph. Every car has a ‘sweet speed’ at which it uses the fuel most efficiently, always in top gear, usually around 50 mph;
- minimise the use of the brake; do this by looking far ahead and anticipating, and leaving space behind the vehicle in front, so that you can take your foot off the accelerator and decelerate naturally ahead of junctions, etc.;
- close the windows if travelling over 50 mph to reduce drag;
- keep the tyres pumped up to the correct pressure;
- use the air conditioning and heating sparingly;
- remove roof racks and other additions that can cause friction when they are not being used;
- don’t carry unnecessary excess weight;
- switch off the engine when stationary for more than a minute;
- service the car regularly, including cleaning and replacing filters.