Driving is an essential for most of us, but there’s no denying that is it doing damage to the environment. Not only is fuel a non-renewable resource, but driving pollutes the air and over time, has contributed to climate change and other serious issues regarding the environment that are becoming a subject of increasing focus today.
If you are concerned for the environment and want to do what you can to reduce your carbon footprint, then looking at how you drive, what you drive, and how often you drive might be a good place to start.
While it might be impossible for you to completely give up your car and walk everywhere, the good news is that there are lots of positive changes that today’s drivers can make to be much kinder to the environment overall.
Switch to an EV
One of the biggest changes that you can make to be kinder to the environment as a driver is to switch to an electric or hybrid vehicle.
Rather than relying on fuel in a combustion engine, these cars run on electricity, or in the case of hybrid cars, electricity, and traditional fuel, which is only used when the battery runs out in order to keep you on the road and recharge the battery to a point where it can be used to power the car again.
Driving an electric car is much kinder for the environment as there are no toxic emissions, and they are much lower in the case of a hybrid vehicle.
This is an expensive step, so it might not be right for everybody, but the good news is that there are government grants available to incentivise more drivers to make the switch.
If you have been thinking about switching to an electric car, then this electric car guide can help with more information to get you started.
If you are not yet in a position to switch to an electric car, then driving less could be a good way to reduce your carbon footprint.
Instead of driving shorter journeys, consider walking or cycling instead as a way to get more exercise, get out in the fresh air and save on petrol while being kinder to the environment.
Short journeys in cars make up a huge amount of pollution, so why not leave the car at home next time you need to pop to the shops or pick the kids up from school.
You might find that, you don’t need to drive quite as often as you used to, and there are financial benefits in it for you too, as you won’t go through fuel as quickly.
For those longer journeys where walking might not be doable; there is also the option to use public transport. This is kinder to the environment because public transport can hold significantly more people compared to one car, reducing pollution by only one vehicle being on the road rather than several.
Along with this, many public transport networks in the UK are now going electric or hybrid, making them an eco-friendly choice.
Think about how many cars you have at your home and if you really need them all. If you live with your partner, do you need a car each?
Perhaps you are working from home and there isn’t much of a need for two vehicles in the household. Sharing a car can be an ideal option, as it cuts down pollution on the road ultimately reducing the carbon footprint of your household.
Along with this, it’s a good way to slash your household bills as you will only be paying for one set of insurance, car tax, maintenance and fuel compared to two, giving you the chance to save more money or spend it on something more interesting, like going for a weekend break or a meal at a nice restaurant instead.
Sharing a car with a significant other or family member can also get you out walking more often, as there might be times where you need to make a short journey and they need to make a longer one, so they get to use the car while you have to make alternative arrangements.
So, it can be a good way to get more exercise without really trying, too!
If you travel in your car to work each day and have colleagues who live in the area, then car pooling or sharing each other’s cars to give each other lifts to work can be an ideal option to consider when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint as a driver.
Instead of several employees all driving to work on the same day in different cars, you can all go together in the same vehicle. Bear in mind that it is illegal to take money for giving a passenger a ride if you don’t have hire and reward insurance, but there’s nothing stopping your passengers from paying for your fuel at the petrol station.
Not only does carpooling to work allow you to reduce the amount of pollution on the road, but you’ll also save a lot of money on fuel, allowing you to get more from your full tank.
Watch Your Driving Habits
Most drivers will get into some bad driving habits after spending some time on the road.
Whether you only have one hand on the steering wheel most of the time or have caught yourself resting your foot on the clutch more times than you would like to admit, it’s normal for most drivers to not perfectly drive all of the time.
However, it’s good to be aware of any bad driving habits that you might have that could be increasing your car’s emissions and causing more harm to the environment.
For example, speeding is not only dangerous and illegal, but it also leads to more emissions and pollution, so make sure that you are sticking to below the speed limit.
Harsh braking is another problem that can cause your car to emit more toxins as you drive. If you are not sure what kind of driving habits you need to change, then you may want to consider a telematics device.
You can get these with some insurance policies, or there are apps available to use to track how you drive each time you get behind the wheel, providing you with more feedback when it comes to what you can improve.
Turn Your Engine Off
Sitting in a traffic jam can be frustrating, but it also damages the environment. If you drive in rush hour and are often stuck in congestion on the roads, then switching your engine off if you are at a standstill can make a difference.
Idling can cause a huge amount of congestion, so this simple trick can help you reduce your carbon footprint as a driver and save fuel.
Driving is something that most of us need to do to get to the places we need to be, but it is quite damaging to the environment.
The good news is that from being strategic with the car you choose to making a change in your driving habits, there are several things that drivers can do to be more environmentally friendly.