Going green

There’s no escaping the fact: with every sip of petrol that you car takes, its exhaust releases carbon dioxide (CO2). That’s bad news – this major greenhouse gas is nasty stuff. But there’s good news, too – you can minimise your carbon footprint by following these tips.

Do your homework

If you’re shopping around for a new car, check out the specified CO2 emissions as they differ from vehicle to vehicle. A car with fewer emissions should also be more economical, so you’ll be saving money as well as the planet.

Drive less

Plan your travelling: run a number of errands on one trip, and shop near home or order over the Internet. And try to avoid peak-hour traffic – stop-start driving uses more fuel.

Drive economically

Drive in the highest gear possible, anticipate changes in the traffic flow (so you don’t have to slam on brakes and then waste fuel accelerating again) and don’t speed – high speeds lead to high fuel consumption. Remember your tyres: having the correct tyre pressure can save lots of fuel.

Tune it

If the engine is properly tuned, it will operate more efficiently and use less fuel as a result.

Do your sums

A diesel car is not necessarily ‘greener’ than one with a petrol engine. Figures provided by the Australian government show that the 2,3kg of CO2 emissions per litre of petrol rises to 2,7kg for diesel. But engines designed to operate on diesel tend to be more fuel- efficient than petrol engines, so it is possible to save emissions by driving a diesel car. Do the calculations for each car you’re considering before you buy.