Motor vehicles contribute to an estimated 21% of our overall CO2 emissions, as a result of 31.5 million cars on the UK’s roads in 2015 (an increase of 5.7% in ten years). Needless to say, if business owners and management encouraged smarter driving, big improvements to company carbon footprints could be made.
With more vehicles than ever before now on the roads, we are experiencing severe health impacts and cost consequences…
- New worldwide studies reveal 3.3 million people die prematurely each year due to air pollution related illnesses – heart attacks, strokes, lung cancer and respiratory diseases. This is a bigger killer than Malaria and HIV/Aids combined.
- Manufacturing a new car creates just as much carbon pollution as driving it!
- Data has revealed that diesel cars emit up to four times more toxic pollution than a bus.
We provide you with a simple guide to help steer your business to a smarter driving way of thinking; helping you to save money and reduce environmental impact!
RECOMMENDED READ: Britain campaigns for more air pollution
Before You Set Off…
When it comes to commuting to and from work, would it be feasible for members of your team to car share? Not only will this result in fewer cars on the road, therefore less air pollution, but will reduce the amount of onsite parking required. Staff will experience monetary savings from car maintenance, and will make considerable fuel savings thanks to driving less. If you are unable to set up your own internal car share scheme, there is always the Liftshare network in the UK, which matches you with people with similar journeys.
Planning your route won’t just only save you money but fuel too, thereby reducing your emissions. There are now countless Twitter accounts solely reporting on traffic news and updates, so use these to watch out for congested routes, road-works and collisions to ensure you have a clear and quick journey; not the mention stress free! You should always weigh up a motorway route against a more direct rural route, which may save a couple of minutes but would use the most amount of fuel.
Doing 80mph on the motorway will use between 10% and 20% more fuel than doing 70mph – not to mention it’s illegal! Plus, for a 20 mile journey, driving at 80mph as opposed to 70mph will only save you around 2 minutes anyway.
Preparing Your Journey…
Your fuel efficiency is affected dramatically by the aerodynamics of your vehicle. Items such as roof racks, roof boxes and bicycle carriers will increase drag, and therefore fuel consumption, so should be removed when not in use.
UNDER INFLATED TYRES:
Not only is it dangerous to have under inflated tyres, it also increases fuel consumption. Under inflated tyres have uneven contact with the road and exhibit excessive wear on both the inside and outside edges. Not only will under inflation wear your tyres out quicker, but you will also experience increased rolling resistance with the road, resulting in increased CO2 emissions.
OVER INFLATED TYRES:
On the other hand, putting too much air in your tyres can be just as damaging and costly. Over inflated tyres will have less contact with the road surface, leading to a loss of traction and poorer braking distances. You will experience a shorter tyre lifespan with over inflated tyres as they will wear heavily and unevenly across the central part.
CARRY THE MINIMUM:
Having heavy equipment and clutter in the car is often not necessary for each journey. Consider taking the extra weight of your vehicle so that your engine doesn’t work as hard, consequently reducing fuel consumption.
It’s important to remember to check your tyres every week, especially before a long journey. Tyre pressures for vehicles are also listed in the owner’s manual.
Smarter driving saves fuel, cuts harmful CO2 emissions, reduces wear on tyres and makes journeys less stressful. One of the more obvious things to do is to consider your speed – going faster means you increase your fuel consumption. Keep an eye on the speedometer and try to make gear changes by 2,500rpm – which is normally the most efficient point to do so.
Focus far ahead when you are driving to anticipate road conditions and any potential upcoming hazards. You’ll find this will make your driving smoother, with less harsh braking and acceleration used – reducing fuel consumption and emissions; improving your economy.
Many still think it’s necessary to warm a car up by letting it idle before heading off on a journey. With sophisticated ECUs in control of the engine, it really isn’t needed for modern cars. To save burning unnecessary fuel, start your journey straight away. Another myth is that when started, engines use up considerable amounts of extra fuel. However, thanks to modern advances in car manufacturing, this is not the case! So, if you are unfortunately caught in traffic, consider switching your engine off.
Many modern cars are now fitted with a vast array of conveniences, including air conditioning and heated seats. You should try to only use them when really needed, to reduce fuel usage. However, when travelling at motorway speeds, the use of air conditioning is more efficient than opening your window – which increases wind resistance and fuel consumption.
TRAIN YOUR DRIVERS:
There are many courses out there to help your organisation’s personnel drive more economically and efficiently. There is even training that combines driving safer too, reducing the risk of crashes and potential damage to company vehicles – find out how you can train your drivers with Energy Saving Trust.
Road transport is the biggest transport emission source (94% of domestic emissions).
Getting to grips with your organisation’s fleet operating costs and emissions can be difficult. You can however get free assistance on getting a greener vehicle fleet from the Energy Saving Trust. They can carry out environmental reviews on your organisation’s vehicles, from the smallest of fleets to 50+ vehicles.
Depending on the size and location of your organisation’s vehicle fleet, the Energy Saving Trust can provide a range of transport advice services that could save up to £1,000 per vehicle, improving your environmental impact and helping your corporate social responsibility credentials Government funding means advice can be delivered in England, Scotland and Wales.
Speed limiters are another excellent way of modifying and improving driver behaviour. They are being used by more and more businesses to limit their vehicles to speeds of 60 / 65 / 70mph, making significant fuel savings. For companies with an active green policy, the introduction of speed limiters onto fleet vehicles can be a big step in the right direction to reduce their carbon footprint.