Published: 05:00, 22 October 2021
| Updated: 13:50, 22 October 2021
A two-car family could save more than £700 a year by changing the way they drive, which would not only conserve money but also be better for the planet.
The government plans to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars in 2030 as part of efforts to cut carbon emissions in the UK – but the AA says all drivers can make a difference now to their environmental footprint while saving money in the process.
A ban on the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles in the UK, scheduled to come into force in 2030, forms a major part of the government's efforts to control the planet's rising temperature and cut the nation's dependency on fossil fuels.
But motoring organisation the AA says now is the time for car owners to re-evaluate their driving regardless of the type of vehicle they currently own.
And it says every motorist can do more to lessen the impact motoring has on the environment.
Here are seven changes the AA suggests drivers can adopt:
Sticking to constant lower speeds is not only safer but makes your fuel go further. Drive at 70mph and you’ll use up to 9% more petrol or diesel than at 60mph and up to 15% more than at 50mph. Driving at speeds of up to 80mph is not only illegal but will use up to 25% more fuel than travelling at 70mph.
2. Driving style
Further gains can be made by modifying your driving style. An erratic driving style will use up more fuel, consequently be more harmful to the environment, and will see you filling up more often. Drivers should aim to drive 'smoothly' – this would include gently accelerating and reading the road and travel conditions ahead to avoid breaking heavily or unnecessarily.
3. Check your tyres
Regular checking of tyre pressures and tyre treads help your wheels roll more efficiently. Under-inflated tyres or low pressure means that more of the tyre is touching the road, which will cause more friction. The harder your car has to work, the quicker and more fuel it will need to burn to get you to your destination.
4. Service your vehicle
Regular servicing of your car means it will run more efficiently and any faults that may be causing you to use up fuel more quickly can be identified and repaired.
5. 'Trip chain' or car share
Can you combine car trips? For example, picking up shopping on your way home from work or dropping your children somewhere and running an errand in the same journey. The fewer journeys you can make from scratch and the more driving you can combine the better it is for both your fuel bill and the planet. Alternatively share a vehicle when you can, perhaps with a work colleague or fellow parent at your child's school, while cutting out the smaller journeys by walking or cycling where possible.
6. Take a load off
Take off the unused roof box or bike rack when they're not in use and take a look inside your boot to see how many heavy goods you're carrying. The more 'drag' you're creating on your car the harder it will need to work and the more fuel that will consume. Tougher driving conditions like that will use up petrol or diesel more quickly and consequently release more of its harmful fumes into the environment.
7. Reverse park
How good is your reverse parking? Did you know that backing into parking spaces means that you will lose less fuel when you have to pull off cold. Slow manoeuvres when your engine is at its coldest use more fuel than when it is warm. Facing forward means that you will be able to drive away more quickly and spend less time driving slowly while your engine is cooler.
AA president Edmund King said while the biggest change to driving will no doubt be driven by the ban in nine years time, there is plenty drivers can do in the interim.
He explained: “COP26, which the AA is proud to support, is about us all reducing our carbon footprint and all drivers can help whether driving electric, petrol or diesel cars.
"Not only can we help the environment, but a petrol or diesel two-car family could save more than £700 per annum just by changing their driving style and speed.”