It's your choice
Always have in mind other means of transportation before deciding to take a car. For short trips use alternative means of transportation, for example, you can use bicycle or walk to the shop nearby. For long distances use train or other public transport. This option is much safer compared to driving yourself. You can take your laptop with you and work or just relax and enjoy the sceneries. Alternatively you can use the services of a car-sharing community and use a car when you need it without owning it.
Select your car with the environment in mind
The environmental impact of different car models is not the same. It is important to study and understand the characteristics that make each car option more or less environmentally friendly. Currently there is hope that electric vehicles, as the most environmentally friendly cars to date, will become more and more widespread globally. However, there are several issues to consider regarding the limitations of electric vehicles, such as higher price, range limitations, lack of charging points (this depends on the country where you live, of course).
In Sweden there are quite good conditions to own an electric car. The cost of electricity is relatively low in Sweden compared to other European countries. The charging point network is expanding. Electric vehicles in Sweden have no vehicle tax for the first 5 years of operation. In addition, buyers of electric cars in Sweden receive a 40,000 kr premium from the government.
The next most environmentally friendly car option would be a plug-in hybrid. Plug-in hybrids use rechargeable battery but also have a combustion engine that switches on when the battery charge is low. This way the range anxiety problem is eliminated.
Simple hybrid cars are less environmentally friendly than plug-in hybrids, but still better than traditional non-hybrid petrol cars. Hybrids cannot be plugged in to electricity, but have a small electric battery that can store the electricity generated when the brakes are used.
The worst car for the environment what you could possibly get is a diesel engine car. This is due to carcinogenic particle matters originating in the combustion process. Petrol cars are less harmful for the environment compared to diesel cars.
What can you do to help the environment
- Plan your route well. Avoid traffic jams – stopping and starting is the worst for fuel consumption. Know where you are going, do not get lost. This will eliminate unnecessary driving.
- Combine short trips. During short trips the engine does not reach its optimal operating temperature, therefore, tear and wear increases. Short journeys with cold engine result in higher emissions as well as higher fuel consumption. Therefore, it is both non economical and harmful for the environment to drive short distances.
- Remove extra weight from your trunk. The more weight you have the more fuel is used. Remove roof rack and box if they are not used – they also contribute to increased fuel consumption.
- Check your tire pressure regularly. Underinflated tires increase fuel consumption and tire wear.
- Remove extra snow from your vehicle in winter. Extra snow on the roof and other parts of the vehicle deteriorates aerodynamical characteristics and increases fuel consumption.
Environmentally friendly driving behaviour
Your driving behavior is not only largely affecting your safety, but also determines your fuel consumption and environmental impact.
Here are several eco-driving techniques you must practice to minimize your negative impact on the environment (simultaneously reducing fuel consumption!):
- After switching your engine on, do not wait – start driving. The engine is warming up by driving more efficiently than by idling. In winter conditions use engine pre-heater for a few hours before staring the engine. This will prolong your car’s engine life and simultaneously avoid heavy exhaust emissions caused by cold start.
- Do not drive aggressively, minimize braking and acceleration. Every time you press brakes, it’s extra work for the engine when you afterwards accelerate. Aggressive driving behavior can increase fuel consumption up to 20%.
- Turn off the engine when stationary. If your vehicle will be for over 30 sec, turn the engine off. Did you know that turning off the engine and starting again consumes less fuel than if you keep it running idle.
- Brake with the engine. If you are driving with a manual car, use engine braking when possible. In this case there is no fuel consumption and the brake pads’ life is prolonged.