Rising gas prices: 10 green tips to consume less on the road
The best strategy to travel without having to pay too much attention to the ever-rising gas prices, while at the same time giving a hand to the environment, is to choose destinations that are close and reachable by eco-friendly means, such as trains or even bicycles. If you just can’t do without a car, adopt a smart, eco-friendly driving style!
The European governments, following the directive n. 1999/94/CE aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, publish every year a guide always useful from the environmental and road safety points of view, which in the light of the soaring gas prices becomes even more precious to save money!
This eco-guide is full of suggestions to motorists on what to do, both before getting behind the wheel and when driving, to minimize fuel consumption and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 15%. But remember: you can do even better by choosing a close-to-home vacation.
Even before gas prices, think about maintenance
Among the factors that most affect consumption and emissions, besides the type of car, are its overall condition, including loading: if they are not necessary, roof racks and ski racks should be removed because they worsen aerodynamics. Open windows have the same effect: if air enters the vehicle it will brake it and more fuel will be needed.
Maintenance should be done scrupulously, carrying out all the checks and adjustments required by the manufacturer and changing the oil at the right time. Equally important is the set-up. Tire pressure should be checked monthly when the tires are cold, as deflated tires increase rolling resistance and therefore consumption, and winter tires should be fitted only in seasons when weather conditions make them necessary.
The electrical devices of the vehicle should be used only for the time necessary: the rear window, the auxiliary lights, the wipers, the fan of the heating system, absorb a considerable amount of current, causing an increase in fuel consumption. Not to mention the air-conditioning system… when weather conditions permit, it is advisable to limit its use and instead use the adjustable air vents.
Eco-driving can defeat high gas prices
Eco-driving, i.e. an environmentally friendly driving style, makes it possible to reduce consumption and emissions while making the roads safer. It is a good idea, also from the point of view of engine wear, to always accelerate gradually, shifting up a gear as soon as possible. If possible, decelerations should also be made gradually, keeping the gear engaged and releasing the accelerator pedal.
If the vehicle is stationary or stopped for a longer period, the engine should be switched off: anyone who has a vehicle equipped with the Start & Stop option knows how important it is to keep it active during normal use. As speed increases, fuel consumption and emissions increase exponentially, so it is important to keep it moderate and as even as possible, without unnecessary braking and acceleration; a regularity of driving that can be obtained, for example, by respecting safety distances or following the indications of driving aid systems (e.g. cruise control), if present.
By now, almost all cars have the Gear Shift Indicator, whose light can be beneficial in maintaining the optimum gear for consumption. If the indicator is not available, consistent with the smoothness of engine operation and traffic conditions, shift to higher gears as soon as possible, without pushing the engine to high rpm on intermediate ratios. Using low gears at high engine speeds to obtain brilliant acceleration leads to a significant increase in fuel consumption, polluting emissions, and engine wear.
The eco-sustainable driving decalogue
Our 10 tips to reduce patrol consumption, combat high gas prices and help the environment, at a glance:
- Travel by car only if strictly necessary
- Once you arrive at your destination, prefer public transport services
- Take care of your car’s maintenance and trim
- Limit the use of air conditioning and electrical devices
- Travel with the windows closed and without roof racks, if not absolutely necessary.
- When the vehicle is stopped, turn off the engine
- Pay attention to the gear shift indicator lights while driving.
- Accelerate gradually while maintaining a moderate speed and as uniform as possible
- Maintain an adequate safety distance from the vehicle in front to avoid sudden braking and starting.
- Decelerate gradually by releasing the accelerator pedal and keeping the gear engaged.
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