Going the Green Route
Your driving habits, the type of vehicle you drive and the conditions under which you drive will affect your vehicle's environmental performance. The following tips, adapted from the Australian Government’s Green Vehicle Guide website will help make for a greener trip.
Minimise your vehicle use
Think about your travel needs prior to your travel. Planned travel decisions will result in fewer trips and more efficient/cheaper travel than unplanned decisions made 'on the go'. Some travel planning tips:
- Plan to do a number of errands in one trip rather than several trips and save both time and fuel (for the first couple of minutes of a car trip the engine is cold and this results in an increase in fuel consumption per kilometre).
- Patronise shops near to you whenever possible to reduce the distances you travel by car. Walk or cycle to your local shops if you can.
- Avoid peak-hour traffic whenever possible.
- Use alternative transport, eg. public transport (bus, train, tram or ferry), walking or cycling. These alternative methods of travel are often cheaper, and may provide other benefits including increased fitness.
Service your vehicle regularly and look after your tyres
Keeping your vehicle well tuned will promote more efficient running. Inflate your vehicle's tyres to the highest pressure recommended by the tyre manufacturer and make sure your wheels are properly aligned (remember to keep your spare tire inflated as well). Looking after your tyres will not only reduce your fuel consumption it will also extend tyre life and improve handling.
There are some tyres, like the Planet Ark Endorsed Bridgestone Ecopia EP100 Tyres, that are specifically designed to reduce rolling resistance and therefore reduce fuel consumption and C02 emissions when compared with traditional tyres. Find out more about Ecopia tyres.
Drive in high gear
The engine runs most efficiently between around 1,500 and 2,500 rpm (lower in diesels). To maintain these low revs you should change up through the gears as soon as practical and before the revs reach 2,500 rpm. Automatic transmissions will shift up more quickly and smoothly if you ease back slightly on the accelerator once the car gathers momentum.
Drive smoothly - avoid unnecessary acceleration
Drive at a good distance from the car in front so you can anticipate and travel with the flow of traffic. You will be able to see such things as traffic lights changing or cars turning and minimise your fuel use through braking and accelerating back up to full speed.
Minimise fuel wasted in idling
Minimise fuel wasted in idling by stopping the engine whenever your car is stopped or held up for an extended period of time. By having the engine switched off, even for a short period, you will save more fuel than is lost from the burst of fuel involved in restarting the engine. The net increased wear and tear from this practice is negligible.
Speed kills economy
High speeds result in high fuel consumption. At 110 km/h your car can use up to 25% more fuel than it would cruising at 90 km/h.
Travel light and minimise aerodynamic drag
Additional parts on the exterior of a vehicle such as roof racks and spoilers, or having the window open, increases air resistance and fuel consumption, in some cases by over 20%. Don't carry more cargo than you have to. The more a vehicle carries the more fuel it uses.
When you’re tuning the car make sure you recycle the parts that need to be replaced. RecyclingNearYou has listings for general car parts as well as car batteries that can be recycled through Battery World and Century Yuasa stores and tyres that can be recycled for free when you buy new tyres from a Kmart Tyre and Auto Service.