New research recently revealed that nine out of 10 UK motorists don’t know how to drive their car in the most environmentally friendly way, according to Young Driver.
The pre-17 driving school asked 1,000 UK motorists, but only 11 per cent were able to say they knew how to drive their car in the most environmentally friendly way – dropping to just six per cent of drivers aged 25 to 34.
However, 24 percent said that they do aim to be environmentally conscious behind the wheel, and those aged over 45 were the most likely to make an effort to be environmentally conscious while driving.
"We feel passionately about doing what we can to protect the environment and we know our pupils feel likewise," said Sue Waterfield, head of marketing at Young Driver. "All drivers have a responsibility to try and minimise their impact on the environment, although it seems many of us struggle to know how to go about it. People continue to rely on their cars – not everyone has access to an electric vehicle and at the moment using public transport is difficult.
"At Young Driver we think it is vital to teach our 10 to 17-year old students how to be more eco-friendly if they are behind the wheel of a petrol or diesel vehicle and it’s something we do as part of our lessons."
Young Driver’s top 10 tips for greener driving in a petrol/diesel vehicle
- Be smooth – Smoother driving is key to being a more environmentally friendly driver. Less heavy braking or over-zealous acceleration means you use less fuel – which is better for both your pocket and the environment.
- Moving up through the gears – Moving through the gears as quickly as possible (around 2000/2500 rpm) will help you use fuel more economically.
- Don’t overload – The heavier your car is, the more fuel it will burn. Ensure any extra weight is removed from the car before each trip – that includes roofboxes, which also add extra ‘drag’. Don’t use your car as storage space!
- Maintain a sensible speed – Going too fast will use extra fuel, as well as being potentially dangerous. Driving at 60mph will use a lot less fuel than driving at speeds above that. Cruise control is useful to maintain a constant speed when appropriate.
- Check your tyres – If your tyres are underinflated, not only is it dangerous, but you’ll also use more fuel, which is bad for the environment. Make sure you check your tyre pressure regularly – ideally every week.
- Chill out – Air conditioning can really increase your fuel usage, so where possible try to open windows rather than automatically putting the air con on. However, the one exception to that is when driving at speed – then the air con is actually more efficient than opening a window.
- Keep up with maintenance and servicing – Making sure your car is running as it should be is vital to ensure your car is as eco-friendly as possible.
- Switch off – Some modern cars do this automatically, but if the car is standing still for more than a few minutes, switch off the engine – e.g. while parked, or in a stationary traffic jam.
- Plan ahead – Check out your route beforehand to make sure you know where you’re going, and to check for any possible delays or hold ups which may add extra time or miles to your journey.
- Keep watch – When approaching traffic lights or a need to stop, if it’s safe to do so try reducing your speed more gradually by easing off the accelerator, rather than having to brake. If you can avoid stopping completely, you’ll increase your fuel efficiency.