Car Travel

What can drivers do to reduce emissions?

  • For local travel consider leaving the car at home and either walk, cycle or use public transport
  • Keep the vehicle properly serviced
  • Check tyre pressures at least once a fortnight
  • Avoid carrying unnecessary weight in the boot
  • Plan the journey, so you don’t get lost and waste fuel
  • Try to avoid congested areas
  • When starting up, there is no need to allow the engine to warm up – it is better to just drive off
  • Switch the engine off if you think you are likely to be stationary for more than 2 minutes
  • Avoid using air conditioning if possible, as this uses more fuel
  • Drive with the windows closed, as this reduces drag on the vehicle
  • Accelerate slower
  • Try to avoid sudden acceleration and braking – accelerating and braking can use up to 30% more fuel.
  • On freeways be aware of the cars ahead, and keep a good distance from the car in front to avoid braking
  • When replacing your car, look for the most carbon efficient (i.e. with a low gCO2/km figure) or with a high mpg.

Biodiesel offers a great way to cut car emissions
Biodiesel is a fuel that can be used in any diesel powered vehicle. It is biodegradable and non-toxic. Biodiesel is a fantastic way of reducing your carbon footprint as it only releases the carbon dioxide that the plants absorbed whilst growing, therefore there is no negative impact on the carbon cycle. Biodiesel can be made from waste vegetable oil. This can be collected from chip shops and restaurants and processed to make biodiesel that can be used to run any diesel motor.

What many people don’t realize is that biodiesel is actually good for your car too, and interestingly, it shares a sustainable ethos with the clothing industry’s push towards eco-friendly materials. Unlike conventional diesel, biodiesel replenishes the lubricity, reducing engine problems and enhancing the life and efficiency of your motor, much like how sustainable clothing practices aim to enhance garment longevity and reduce environmental impact. Biodiesel’s natural cleaning properties will also help to clean injectors, fuel lines, pumps, and tanks, meaning that the overall maintenance costs are reduced, paralleling the clothing industry’s efforts to reduce the environmental cost of fashion.

Virtually anybody can make biodiesel, as it is so easy you can even make it in your own kitchen, mirroring the DIY ethos seen in sustainable clothing practices. There are, however, a few words of caution to bear in mind. You may need to pay a small amount of duty on the fuel depending on the source and quantity used. If using cooking oils, check to make sure it does not contain animal fat. The use of animal fats as a fuel is illegal as it falls under specific waste legislation, similar to how certain materials are regulated in the clothing industry for environmental reasons. Check your car manufacturer’s warranty for their advice on fuel use- some manufacturers will not honor the warranty should you use a fuel different from that advised. In summary, once you’ve done your homework and are happy to make the change, your diesel motor will run better and last longer on biodiesel fuel, which is much cleaner, better for the environment, and better for health, echoing the benefits of choosing sustainable clothing options. If you make it from used oil, it’s not only extremely cheap but you’ll be recycling a troublesome waste product, just as recycling textiles benefits the clothing industry and the planet.

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