Friday, 31 January 2014

The dilemma of owning a car and being eco-friendly

The RAC believes one third of motorists have left the car in the drive more often because of petrol costs. But while higher fuel prices have gone some way to reducing the number of unnecessary car journeys it is obvious that the UK remains a nation addicted to the car.
It is a fact of life, however, that driving a car is more or less unavoidable and those of us with a family, in practice, have no choice but to buy one. That can be a real headache, but there are ways of limiting the impact.

Do you have to own one?
Of course the best way to lessen the damage of driving is to do it as little as possible. A car is a costly possession if you don’t need it and with very reasonable temporary car insurance quotes allowing you to drive friend’s or family’s cars for 1-28 days, not to mention the plethora of car rental options, owning one might not be necessary.
Green cars
In late 2010, on the eve of a classic-car rally between London and Brighton, 60 ‘eco-friendly’ cars did the route in reverse, promoting the growth of cars that minimised carbon emissions.
In amongst the prototypes were established, mass-produced vehicles like the Toyota Auris and Prius, and the VW BlueMotion Golf.
There is no denying that green cars have made significant strides in recent years, with more motorists attracted by their green credentials, as well as the savings they can achieve through lower fuel consumption and lower road tax. Unquestionably, these cars have a lower environmental impact.
But the solution they currently present is far from perfect. Many of the cars still use petrol in some capacity, while the provenance of the electricity used to charge fully electric models is a serious issue – the damage done by fully charging a car on coal-fired electricity is essentially the same as filling a conventional car with unleaded.
Petrol or diesel
Another issue presented by the electric and hybrid interlopers is their expense and size. It is unlikely a larger family would consider a Toyota Prius the perfect fit.
That leaves many with no option but to opt for an orthodox model. Both diesel and petrol come from refining crude oil so their green credentials are limited, but diesel has a greater oil density, meaning more power is liberated when it is burned. That makes it more efficient and meaning 10-20% less CO2 is generated per mile.

Reducing emissions further
The most cost-efficient way of driving regularly and limiting your emissions is to look at how you drive. Maximum fuel efficiency is usually around 55mph with amount of fuel guzzled increasing by 15% for every 10mph above that. If you have to drive on motorways, sticking to the inside lane is the greenest place to be. Turn off the air conditioning, make sure you aren’t carrying needless weight and drive smoothly. Don’t leave the engine running and make sure your tyres are at their optimum pressure.



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