How To: Reduce Your Driving Emissions

We need to stop seeing driving as a right, and start seeing it as a resource that is limited and the use of which has serious local and global consequences

Driving is a shitty thing to do. We all know it, and most of the time is is avoidable and we should just use public transport.

A lot of people seem to think that driving is all entirely bad, or that there is nothing you can do about the emissions caused by it. But here at E.C.O. we are big fans of the where practical and possible approach and for some people driving is something they can’t give up right now. Rather than arguing against driving, this article gives you some quick tips on how to identify where you can cut down on your emissions by eliminating your most harmful habits.

1. Quit Idling:

Engine idling is pretty much one of the worst things you can do in terms of your local emissions which affect air quality and disproportionately impacts vulnerable groups like children. So if you’re picking up a mate or waiting for your mum to run into the shop for a (non plastic wrapped) avocado, turn your engine off!

2. Get smooth:

Breaking causes tyres to decay, which leave a harmful mix of materials on the ground to eventually run into waterways and oceans. The harder you break – the more particulates are likely to be released. Your emissions are also highest when you’re accelerating and building up speed just to break back to a slower one again is a huge waste of fuel. So rather than stop-starting your way through rush hour try leaving enough space to drive slowly but smoothly.

3. Go on a cruise

Cruise control does amazing things for your fuel economy and your emissions. It’s also imo the nicest way to drive over long distances. So set the speedo to something sensible and sit back knowing you’re helping the planet.

4. Stay warm

Cold starts are when an engine is started after it’s been switched off for a while. While the engine is heating up its running at a really low efficiency and things like the catalytic converter (which stops some of the harmful chemicals from being emitted) don’t work as well. In fact, even on long journeys more pollutants can be released in the first 5 minutes than in the rest of the trip.

This means that for those short trips your emissions might be much higher than you think. So quit the short trips where you can, or tag them on to the end of a longer trip where the engine is still ‘warm’.

5. Offset offset offset

If driving is something you are doing daily, for example for your commute, consider incorporating carbon offsetting into your travel budget for the month. The cost is usually super low (I’m talking less than £5) and will give you some peace of mind that you’re going some way towards reducing your overall emissions.


And finally, if you can avoid driving then do it!! Every little effort changes outcomes.

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