On the Road

We have become more mobile than ever. Faster and easier. Technology today has enabled us to travel from one continent to another overnight, to visit friends at the other end of the world in no time – humanity is even starting to discover mobility in outer space. The environment pays the price. The emissions released by the humongous amount of traffic is a major problem when dealing with the climate change issue. So travel wisely. Here are some points which you could do to reduce energy consumption and CO2-emissions.

Drive Less

  • Drive less and share your commute with friends or colleagues.
  • Visit close-by countryside or beaches for long weekend breaks and take your short breaks to places that can be reached without flying.
  • Walk or cycle for short trips and get fit in the process.
  • Take trains and buses when you’re going on holiday. There are plenty of different overseas train networks.
  • If you have the flexibility, work from home one day a week.
  • Shop by phone or mail.

Drive Smart

  • Accelerate gradually. Avoid rapid acceleration to reduce fuel consumption.
  • Avoid hard braking and sudden stops. Stay alert and anticipate traffic lights, stop signs and merges. Use turn signals. Traffic will move more smoothly, which saves fuel for everyone.
  • When starting out, shift up to the next gear (manual transmission) as soon as possible without straining the engine.
  • Drive more slowly. One study reported that for all vehicles tested there was at least a 20% loss in fuel economy as cruising speed was increased from 55 to 75 mph. So, 20 miles per gallon (mpg) at 55 mph becomes 16 mpg or less at 75 mph.
  • Remove extra weight from the car; 50 extra kilograms may cost around 400 km per liters.
  • Avoid using roof racks and remove when not in use.
  • Use cruise control on highway trips.
  • For any stop lasting more than a minute, shut off the engine rather than letting it idle.
  • Avoid warming the engine up before driving; it is not necessary, even in cold weather.
  • Do not rev engine before shutting it off; this wastes fuel and can dilute motor oil, leading to excessive wear on engine parts.
  • Park in the shade and/or leave windows slightly open to reduce the need for air conditioning.

Fuel and Maintenance

  • Refrain from topping off the tank at the gas pumps.
  • Replace air and fuel filters regularly as instructed by the vehicle maintenance manual; change air filter more often if driving in dusty conditions.
  • Keep engine properly tuned.
  • Use API certified “Energy Conserving” motor oil, either conventional or synthetic. Use the service classification and viscosity specified for the vehicle.
  • Avoid buying “aggressive” tread tires.
  • Check tires; an under-inflated tire can decrease fuel economy by 2%.
  • Determine gasoline mileage periodically. Declining mileage can be an early indicator of mechanical problems or a need for servicing.

Challenge yourself

  • Join a car club and save on MOT, insurance, road tax, repairs, parking and petrol costs. Every car club car is the equivalent of taking five cars of the road.
  • If you are buying a new car, investigate the environmental performance of the model, considering the more fuel efficient.
  • If you do a school run, why not organise a walking bus for your children and their friends? It’s more sociable, keeps your children healthy and reduces the number of cars on the road, making it safer for everyone.
  • Try and persuade your employer to provide safe and secure bicycle storage and shower facilities for cyclists.
  • As a last resort if flights are unavoidable, offset your flight emissions by buying high quality offset credits from these projects which benefit both the environment and sustainable development (see links).

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