UK cars and drivers getting greener

Covered mag, presented by
  • | by Kristian Dando

There are four million more cars on the road in Britain than there were in 2000. But despite this, British drivers are now responsible for marginally less of the total amount of carbon released into the UK than they were eleven years ago, according to the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM.)

The IAM's report suggests that the automotive industry and motorists are ‘doing their bit’ to meet government and EU emission targets. It also found tells that most people think that cars and aeroplanes are the biggest producers of carbon emissions in Britain, despite industry and power stations being responsible for the highest levels of CO2 into the UK atmosphere.

Since 1997, the overall fuel economy of cars has improved by around 25 per cent, largely over the course of the past ten years. Average new car fuel consumption for petrol cars fell from 8.28 litres per 100km in 1997 to 6.93 litres per 100km in 2008. IAM director of policy and research Neil Greig said: “Despite what many green experts may say, Britain’s drivers and the motoring industry are doing their bit to reduce carbon emissions. Drivers are shifting to greener engines and have embraced incentives like cheaper vehicle excise duty for more fuel efficient models.

“Manufacturers should also take credit for producing models across the range that are cleaner and greener,” he continued. “But driving style is crucial - the best fuel-saver is a light right foot and anticipation of the road ahead.”

Easy ways to boost your efficiency and help cut your emissions

World in motion

Keep your vehicle moving rather than stopping and starting. Look further ahead and slow down earlier to avoid stopping. Driving at a constant speed is far more fuel efficient than heavy accelerating and braking.

Inflated opinion

Check your tyres. Under-inflated tyres have a big impact on fuel economy.

Weight watchers

Put your car on a diet. Remove unnecessary weight, including roof racks, car clutter and heavy items in the boot.

Talkin’ ‘bout my ventilation

Try to avoid using air conditioning and climate control at low speeds as they increase fuel consumption. Open a window. However at high speeds, close your windows to maintain the aerodynamics of the car. Use air-con to get the car to a comfortable temperature, and then turn it off to save fuel.

Confessions of a window cleaner

Clean screens rarely mist up, so you’ll use the heater and air-conditioning less if your windows are regularly cleaned of grime and scum that build up.

Shift happens

Try changing up your gears earlier; for petrol engines at 2,500 rpm (revs per minute), and diesel engines 2,000 rpm

Back it up

Reverse into parking bays: manoeuvring with a cold engine uses more fuel, so make the most of having a hot engine.

On ‘yer bike

It will take most cars at least a couple of miles to warm up and run efficiently. Could you walk or cycle?

My humps

Drive at an even pace over speed humps. Slowing down and speeding up drinks more fuel.

Hey man, slow down

Sticking to the speed limit is one of the easiest ways to keep your MPG down. It’ll also make you safer, not to mention keeping you out of the reach of the long arm of the law.