If you’re worried about carbon emissions when you’re on the road, there are a few easy changes you can make. Here, Mark Barclay from GSF Car Parts shares his driving tips to help reduce your environmental impact.

Conscious living has been on the rise across all areas of lives in recent years. Thanks to inspiring key figures like David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg taking action against climate change, many of us are making an effort to alter our living habits, from the way we buy fashion to the places we source our food.

With transport responsible for nearly 30% of the EU’s total CO2 emissions — 72% of which comes from roads — it’s important that we focus on transportation too (Europarl). However, driving is such a huge part of our daily lives, and more eco-friendly alternatives such as cycling and public transport don’t always cut it.

Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to keep carbon emissions down while you’re driving and do your bit to help the planet. Below, I’ll take you through four of the best.

Time your journeys to avoid traffic

Being stuck in traffic isn’t just a waste of time: an idle engine also gives off a lot of unnecessary carbon emissions that cause air pollution and are harmful for the planet. To avoid getting caught up in a jam, try to avoid driving at peak times, including rush hour. It might be worth starting work an hour early or staying back a bit later just to beat the rush. If you do happen to get stuck in traffic, you could try turning your engine off if you think you’ll be stationary for more than 30 seconds or so.

Take a smoother approach to driving

No matter how much of a sensible driver you are, there are probably small changes you could make to your driving style to reduce your carbon emissions. For example, changing gear earlier, braking sooner, and going easy on the acceleration can all make your engine work much more efficiently. Plus, speed limits take environmental concerns into account, not just safety (EEA). So, try to focus on the smoothness of your drive the next time you get behind the wheel, and resist the urge to speed.

Clean and maintain your vehicle

Cleaning your car regularly can help prevent build-ups of dirt and grime that could affect the efficiency of your vehicle, making it less environmentally friendly. Your cleaning routine should include keeping your engine oil topped up, changing the air filter, and checking your tyre pressure, all of which can cause your engine to work harder if they’re not up to standard and lead to more emissions. You should also keep on top of maintenance and schedule any repairs immediately, as even small issues can lead to big problems if not dealt with in good time.

Swap your car for a greener model

Trading in an old car for a newer model can help ensure it’s more fuel efficient. Even better, low and zero emission cars use less carbon to run, so they’re a much greener alternative to diesel or petroleum cars. Hydrogen fuel cell cars like the Toyota Mirai and fully electric cars like the Tesla Model S actually produce no carbon exhaust emissions, which means they have little impact on local air pollution (The AA) — perfect if you use your car often or if you’re really serious about reducing your emissions.

The tips in this guide can help you reduce the environmental impact of your driving and do your bit for the planet. Alternatively, why not use a green private hire service that uses eco-friendly practices, as well as a CO2 offset scheme? That way, you’ll cut your carbon emissions completely.