Week 3 - Greening Your Car
Cars are one of the greatest pollutants many of us use. Most use non-renewable fuel and belch out carbon dioxide and pollutants at an alarming rate but I think it is safe to say that many of us would find it difficult to give up our cars and it would take some major life reorganising to do so. I doubt we, as a family living in rural France where there is no bus service and few very local services, could manage without a car. However, there are things you can do to reduce the amount of pollution your car produces and this blogs covers tips on how you can keep your car as green as possible before you even drive off.
1. Keep your car in good condition and the engine well tunedA well-tuned car can decrease your your fuel consumption by 4% where-as badly clogged air filters can increase it by a staggering 10%. So make sure you have regular services to keep your engine running efficiently.
2. Keep your tyres at the correct pressure
3. Clean your carThere is some evidence that a dirty car uses more fuel than a clean one and smooth dirt is even more fuel inefficient that bumpy dirt for reasons I don't really understand. So get out that bucket and sponge as the general feeling is a clean car will use less fuel ... even if it is simply because t weighs less:
4. Reduce to the load you are carryingRemoving 50kgs of weight from your car can give a 1-2% increase in fuel efficiency. It may not be convenient to leave a child behind so dump as much excess stuff as you can and don't leave heavy things in the car after you have transported them. I buy up to 6 bags of animal feed at a time weighing a total of 300kg and that can really hike up my fuel consumption so as soon as I get home they get taken out of the car.
5. Do not overfill the fuel tankWhen filling your tank stop as soon as the nozzle clicks out as any further filling can lead to losses through vapours and spillage. It is actually preferable to only ever fill your tank half full to reduce weight.
6. Take off the roof rackA roof rack may be great for getting more stuff from A-B but it increases drag leading to greater fuel use of 1-5% (and that doesn't include any extra weight it also contains). So if you can get away without it so much better or at least remove it as soon as you no longer need it.
7. When it is time to renew, go electric or hybridElectric cars run totally on mains electric and are classed as having zero emissions ... although that doesn't take into account that the the electricity production may not have has zero emissions. Hybrid cars run on a battery until that is exhausted and then switch to fuel. In both cases though the carbon emissions are less that a petrol or diesel car.
If the figures are all a bit vague how about I put them into monetary terms.
Let's say it take £60 to fill your fuel tank which you do once a week. Total per year £3120
You now make the following changes which could save you the following per year:
- Get your car tuned - £125 saving
- Clean those filthy air filters - £312 saving
- Keep to correct the tyre pressures - £93 saving
- Remove the roof rack - £156 saving
- Total - £686 or a saving of nearly 21%
OK so these are extreme figures but I have not been able to calculate all changes so it still gives a pretty good idea of how much money you could be saving and in turn how much you can reduce you pollution by taking these simple steps
Please also have a look at the post I have written about green driving tips.