Climate change isn’t new and neither is the realisation that our cars play a part in the problem. But with cuts to public transport, it is harder than ever to not use your car and get where you need to be. That’s where eco driving comes in – but what is it about and why is it important?
What is eco driving?
Eco driving is about your approach to driving and taking more consideration in it. It starts with asking the question of whether you even need to take the trip in the first place – rather than going to one shop today and another tomorrow, can you combine both into one journey on one day?
Watching speed is another tip because the faster you go, the more fuel you use. Smooth driving is also important – don’t accelerate then brake a lot as this can increase fuel consumption by as much as a third. Don’t start and stop unless necessary for the same reasons.
Turn off the engine when idling where possible to avoid wasting resources and turn off equipment within the car if it isn’t required – simply opening a window rather than using air conditioning, for example. Finally, look to minimalize what’s in the vehicle as the heavier it is, the more fuel it uses.
All of this can be done while making only the minimal difference to journey times. By planning ahead and knowing your options for your route, you can avoid traffic and congestion and keep journey times down.
Benefits for the individual
One of the biggest benefits for the individual of engaging in eco-driving is the potential savings in fuel costs. One study by Fiat looked at over 5,500 drivers across five countries and found that using eco driving techniques saved around 15% of fuel costs. Using rough average fuel prices, this equated to around 190 euros and a similar amount in pounds.
Additionally, driving in this manner can help reduce the costs for maintenance of the car, as the concept puts less wear and tear on crucial systems such as tyres, brakes and the engine. Statistically, you are also less likely to be involved in an accident when driving in this manner and that means that the roads are safer for drivers and also for pedestrians.
Benefits for society
One of the big drivers of climate change is CO2 and this comes from car exhausts. While car manufacturers are working hard to reduce the amounts of carbon dioxide that their vehicles produce, by using eco driving techniques and approaches, we can all do our bit to reduce levels.
The less we use our cars and the more carefully we drive, the less exhaust particles are thrown into the air and this can reduce the air pollution, a particular problem in cities. The less fuel we use, the less exhaust fumes we create.
Finally, using a car with low engine speeds and avoiding unnecessary acceleration makes for a quieter journey and this can contribute to reduce noise pollution. A car travelling at 4000 rpm makes the same amount of noise as 32 cars travelling at the same speed but at 2000rpm.