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Tips for driving your car economically

Eco-driving: Keen on Green?

  • Tips for eco friendly driving

Being ‘environmentally friendly’ is the new big thing, and eco-driving is one of the latest trends. ‘Going green’ isn’t even that new anymore – the first eco-friendly houses were being built 10 years ago, and the hippies have had a good 30-year head-start on the rest of us – but recently there’s been a real push on making our homes, businesses and now our cars safer for the environment.

Eco-driving in itself isn’t a new concept either; it’s just one that most of us don’t care to put into practice. But it’s easy to fit into your normal driving routine, and the positives of eco-driving arguably outweigh the negatives.

Eco-driving, simply put, is the act of making small changes to the way you drive, in order to save you money and reduce the impact your driving has on the environment.

It’s been adapted to suit the latest technological advances – though you don’t need a new car to make the most of eco-driving – and can also improve road safety, through teaching drivers to anticipate road conditions and hazards at a much earlier time – giving you valuable extra time to react.

The 5 Golden Rules of Eco-Driving

  1. Keep a steady speed. This means keeping your speed steady over the course of your journey. Don’t put on bursts of speed only to brake sharply moments later. It’s these huge variations which eat up your fuel. Instead, stick to a more moderate speed, and don’t over-rev your engine. Try to keep your RPM under 2,000 when possible – if it goes over that, it’s time to change up to the next gear.
  2. Anticipate traffic. Look at the road ahead as far as you can. If you can see people braking ahead, reduce your speed now. Change down a gear if need be. Hang back slightly to give yourself more room to manoeuvre. Try to avoid coming to a complete stop unless you have to.
  3. Shift up gears early on. Try not to let your RPM go over 2,000. This is more important in the higher gears (it’s difficult not to go over 2,000 RPM when exiting a roundabout in second gear or turning into the main flow of traffic in first and needing to pick up speed).
  4. Avoid carrying unnecessary weight. As true for cars as it is for human beings. Don’t cart around needless objects in your boot or on your roof rack. In fact, remove the roof rack if you don’t require it for the time being. You can also make your car more aerodynamic by keeping windows closed at over 50mph.
  5. Check your tyre pressure regularly. Keep your tyres properly inflated to the correct pressure. Low tyre pressure is both a safety risk and a sure-fire way to increase your fuel consumption.

By following these simple tips you can enjoy a range of benefits, the most important of which will surely be a reduction in your fuel costs – which, although not instantly noticeable, will rack up over the course of a year (up to 15% savings is possible). Driving in an eco-friendly manner is also better for your car, reducing wear on your tyres, brakes and gearbox, so you can look forward to fewer trips to the garage.

It is, of course, excellent news for the environment as well. Reduced carbon dioxide emissions, reduced consumption of fuel (the production of which is a huge contributing factor to climate change) and noise pollution reduction are all positive effects of eco-driving.

You can take the Scottish Energy Saving Trust quiz to find out just how green your driving is, and to pick up extra tips on how to improve.

Energy efficient cars

If you’re keen on being greener, you could also consider buying a more energy-efficient car. There are now several eco-friendly car models on the market, and the demand for such cars has risen in recent years, meaning that their popularity, ubiquity and (thankfully) physical appearance have all vastly improved.

And of course, if you want to be truly green (we’re talking frogs, here) then there’s always public transport, a bike or your own two feet.

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