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Green driving – green driving techniques

The type of car you drive and how often you drive it are very obvious factors in how green you are. Driving a big old petrol Mercedes hundreds of miles every day is obviously going to produce more CO² emissions than taking a brand new VW Polo for a spin to the local shops and back.

There are plenty of other things you can do, however, to keep your emissions down – particularly when it comes to how you drive your car. Here are some helpful hints on how to be even greener (and save some money in the process):

  • Drive smoothly – If you can avoid harsh braking and acceleration you will reduce fuel consumption, so try and read the road ahead and anticipate any road conditions and traffic
  • Turn off! – If you are waiting to pick someone up for example, or are at a complete standstill in a queue of traffic, then turn your engine off. Keeping it running wastes fuel and increases emissions
  • Don’t rev – If you do leave your engine running, say at traffic lights, resist the temptation to rev your engine – again this wastes fuel and increases emissions. It also increases the wear on your engine
  • Changing gear – Make sure you shift gear at the right time. If you drive a petrol car, shift up at 2,500rpm – for diesel cars its 2,000rpm. A vehicle travelling at 37mph in third gear uses 25% more fuel than it would at the same speed in fifth gear
  • Keep your weight down – Don’t carry an unnecessary load either on your roof or in the boot – this will make your car work harder and increase the amount of fuel you use
  • Check your tyre pressure – If your tyres aren’t inflated properly, this can increase your fuel consumption by up to 3%
  • Watch your speed – You get fewer miles per gallon the faster you go, so keep your speed down and watch the speed limits. At 70mph you could be using up to 30% more fuel than at 50mph
  • Reduce electrical usage – Using your car’s electrical devices as well as your own gizmos can increase fuel consumption – so only use air conditioning, sat nav, mobile phone chargers etc when you really have to

And finally, the one sure way to reduce your emissions is to reduce your car usage. So before you set off, decide whether you really need to take your car – could you walk or take public transport instead?

Whatever car you drive and wherever you are driving, make sure you are fully covered with Direct Line car insurance.