Reduce energy consumption by driving green
Image Courtesy Local News 8
Sometimes it seems as if technology makes us all lazy, in the sense that instead of solving our own problems the old-fashioned way – by being creative and meeting the issue head-on – we sit around and wait for someone to invent an App or a device that will solve the problem for us. This sort of ‘Consumer Warrior’ attitude strikes everywhere, from personal problems to worldwide issues. People are more than willing to spend money on a technology that offers to improve the world, but seem unimaginative beyond that.
Waiting for hybrids
This phenomenon is clearly apparent with automobile technology. Everyone acknowledges that the world is facing an environmental crisis in part caused by our energy needs, and that we all must find ways to reduce energy use and be more energy efficient. But many people seem to leave it at a vague desire to purchase a hybrid car the next time they buy a new car, and shrug powerlessly when asked when that will be. But the fact is, being more environmentally responsible isn’t always about buying energy saving products like an electric or hybrid vehicle. Often it’s about changing your everyday behaviour to be more responsible – and no matter how unfriendly your current car is to the environment, you can change the way you drive to be more energy efficient.
Energy efficient driving
There are many ways you can reduce your energy consumption and increase the efficiency of your car just by changing your driving habits:
1. Don’t Idle. Idling is just wasted energy, because the engine is churning and burning fuel but you’re not going anywhere – it’s similar to the standby power used by the appliances in your home. If you’re going to idle for more than thirty seconds, switch the car off and save the fuel.
2. Inflate Your Tires. It seems impossible, but improperly inflated tires have an incredible impact on your car’s fuel efficiency. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and in good shape at all times.
3. Keep it Steady. Smooth acceleration and deceleration can improve your fuel efficiency by up to 33% as opposed to sudden speedups and slowdowns. Using cruise control when appropriate can have a dramatic effect on your fuel usage – use it!
4. Slow Down. On the highways, the more you exceed posted speed limits, the less efficient your vehicle becomes due to the increased air drag. By maintaining a steady, reasonable speed (don’t go too slow, either – that has a similar effect on your fuel economy) you’ll drive at peak efficiency.
5. Lighten the Load. The heavier your car is, the less efficient it is. Get rid of heavy items you don’t need to be hauling around with you, and don’t forget the exterior of the car – that rack on the roof you never use could get you a 2% increase in your fuel economy if you removed it.
6. Plan Your Trips. Joyriding is just a waste of fuel, but so is an inefficient route or a poorly-planned itinerary. Group chores together geographically so you’re not driving all over creation to accomplish three things, and plot out your shortest, fastest route – that’s why the Internet exists, after all!
7. Don’t Skimp on Maintenance. The simplest thing you can do to make your driving more environmentally-friendly is to keep your car running in tip-top shape with regular maintenance. Keep the fluids fresh and the belts tight, and your engine will run at peak efficiency, use less petrol, and produce less pollution.
Waiting for a windfall to give you the funds for a new car before you join the fight to make our world a greener, more energy-efficient place is the wrong attitude. Instead, take charge and take action – change your own behaviour. This goes beyond not waiting for a hybrid to magically appear in your driveway. You can analyse all aspects of your daily life and find ways to reduce your carbon footprint and make the world a better place. Many of the world’s problems will be solved when more people stop waiting for technology to solve their problems, and take personal responsibility instead.