There are cost-free, straight-forward tasks you can undertake immediately to ensure your car is running as efficiently as possible, saving you money – and looking after the environment.
Car ownership is an expensive business. Tax, insurance and fuel costs are bad for your wallet while the emissions from your car have a wider cost, damaging the environment and the health of everyone around you.
Air pollution caused by transportation accounts for an estimated 40,000 deaths in the UK every year.
For many of us, though, life without a car isn’t possible but to help reduce the impact of ownership our partners at the Switch Off and Breathe have come up with five driving tips that are good for your wallet and the environment.
Switch off and breathe
The simple everyday step of turning off your engine when stationary not only saves money but has a real impact on the environment and on everybody’s health.
Pollutants from exhaust emissions have a proven impact on our health and environment and are known to cause everything from asthma to cancer. By simply turning off your engine when stationary you can help reduce pollution and ease the threat to public health.
What’s more, it’s estimated that for every two minutes a vehicle is idling it burns enough fuel to drive one mile. Add up all the little stops on your daily drive and you’ll realise how much money you’re wasting by leaving your engine running.
Check your tyres
It’s a simple but often forgotten check that can have a real impact on your spending and polluting. Under-inflated tyres offer more rolling resistance, meaning your engine has to work harder. Tyre maker Michelin estimates that a 15PSI drop in pressure equates to a six per cent increase in fuel consumption. And with increased consumption come increased emissions of harmful chemicals.
Do you need to drive?
Many of us turn to our cars as the first choice for every journey, but is it really necessary? Think about the journey you’re planning and whether you need to drive. For shorter trips could you walk or cycle? Both are free and good for your health, plus they’re emission-free. For longer journeys consider using public transport. It’s often cheaper than driving and by leaving the car at home you’re helping to cut pollution.
Take a load off
Much like under-inflated tyres, hauling around unnecessary weight will damage your fuel consumption and push up the emissions from your vehicle. Try to de-clutter your car, removing anything you don’t need for your journey to cut weight. Roof bars and boxes affect your car’s aerodynamics and create extra wind resistance so ditch them when they’re not in use.
Sharing a car with one or more other people on a regular journey is a sure-fire way to reduce your impact on the environment.
UK Government data shows that around 60 per cent of car and van journeys are made by a single occupant. By sharing a car with others heading in the same direction motorists could dramatically reduce the number of cars on the road and so help bring down pollution.
Sharing a car has the added benefit of sharing the fuel costs and the more people who share, the bigger the savings.
For more information on the Switch Off and Breathe campaign and further tips on reducing pollution and saving money, go to www.switchoffandbreathe.org