How to be an eco driver

If you want to do something for the environment without giving up the convenience of having a car, try these eco friendly driving tips.

Regardless of how often you drive your car, it is worth being conscious of its possible environmental impact and the ways in which you might be able to do your part to lower your carbon footprint.

Downsize to a more fuel efficient car

The bigger, more powerful car you drive, the more emissions and fuel you use. It’s as simple as that.

If you want to be a more eco-friendly driver, maybe it’s time to consider downsizing from that SUV. If you live in an urban area it is unlikely that you actually truly need to be driving around in a gas-guzzling Four Wheel Drive.

Be honest with yourself, how often do you actually need the features of a bigger, more powerful car? If it’s not often, maybe you should downsize.

Not only will it save you money but you’ll be doing your part for the environment. Just because you don’t have a 4WD doesn’t mean you still can’t get off the beaten track every now and then. Why not just hire one? Hiring as you need it, is the more fuel-efficient option.

Remove excess weight

Carrying unnecessary weight in your car increases fuel consumption. Roof racks and spoilers increase wind resistance and fuel consumption in some cases by more than 20 percent.

Before you invest in a car with roof racks consider how often you will actually use them. If it is less than a few times a year, it could be worth simply borrowing or renting a car with roof racks instead.

Compare fuel consumption information

You’d be surprised how different the fuel consumption can be between cars that seem otherwise very similar. Comparing fuel consumption is relatively easy with the Green Vehicle Guide. This publishes star ratings and fuel consumption information on greenhouse and air pollution emissions for new models in Australia.

Look ahead and drive smoothly

By paying closer attention to the traffic you can avoid unnecessarily stopping and starting. The more you keep rolling in traffic, the less fuel you’ll use. City fuel use is often higher than highway use not because of the slower speed, but due to all that stopping and starting in traffic.

Only use air conditioning when you really need it

The extreme weather conditions in Queensland mean that air-conditioning is sometimes necessary for your comfort and wellbeing. However, before automatically turning on the air-conditioning when you get in the car, consider whether you really need it.

Air conditioning can increase fuel use by up to 10 percent. The only time it may be a better option than open windows is when driving over 80km/h. In this case, the open window can increase wind resistance which will cause the car to use more fuel in order to move forward.

Don’t park and idle

Allowing an engine to idle wastes fuel. Switch off the engine, even if you are only parking for a short while. This saves more fuel than simply resting your engine. It is mostly old habits that cause people to idle their cars, mistakenly thinking they need to warm up. Modern cars do not need to idle to warm up, they will do so while driving.

Consider walking, cycling or taking public transport

Before you jump in your car every single day, consider alternative options. Walking or cycling can be a great alternative to short car trips. It’s not only good for the environment it also great for your health and you’ll save money too.