Thursday, 18 July 2019

Climate change & what drivers can do to help...

Earlier this week, protesters from the group Extinction Rebellion again held events in several major cities in the UK to raise awareness of the environmental problems we face.

As drivers, we contribute significantly to the pollution problem. There are around 46 million vehicles on the roads and if every one of those drivers took a few simple steps to reduce their pollutant output, it'd add up to make a considerable difference.

The thing here is to think about percentages. Every one of the following steps is a little step in the right direction that will add up over time to reduce your overall contribution to the climate problem. It's a bit like saving your points at the supermarket where a few pence every time adds up to something better.

A lot of these ideas require you to look far ahead and plan, give them some thought...

Consider not using the car at all
I know that public transport often leaves a lot to be desired and if I'm honest, I'd never consider taking the bus anywhere (unless I'm in London) because it's so pathetically inadequate - for me, the option is between driving and walking when it comes to things like going to the shop to get lottery tickets or picking the kids up from school

Get in it... and drive!
Remember the percentages - if the engine is running, then you're producing pollutants and using fuel. For every 10 minutes that the engine is idling without going anywhere, you use enough fuel to drive 1 mile. Does the engine need to run whilst you program your sat nav?

Keep the engine speed down
But not too much because a struggling, overly oppressed engine is just as bad and can affect your ability to respond safely in an emergency! Diesel powered cars are probably most fuel efficient between 1,500 and 2,000 rpm and Petrol powered cars are best between 2,000 and 2,500rpm

Use engine braking
For those that aren't sure, engine braking is what we call it when you lift off the gas pedal and the car slows down (before you press the brake) and modern cars use ZERO fuel when you're slowing down using engine braking so if you use engine braking for 200 meters as you approach a queue of traffic, then that's 200 meters of FREE motoring and ZERO emissions

Slow to Flow
Due to a law of physics called inertia, your car takes a lot of energy to start moving, so a lot of fuel can be saved (and pollutant gas production avoided) by simply timing your arrival at lights and other queues to avoid stopping. Even if you're still moving at 2mph at the point where the traffic lights change to green for you, then you're still avoiding inertia (which is an eco friendly driver's enemy) and making use of another law of physics, momentum (which is an eco-friendly driver's friend)