Improve your eco-credentials and drive greener

By changing your habits, you can be a ”greener” driver

You recycle, use less water and switch off the lights but have you considered how your road habits can impact the environment? The good news is that it’s not difficult to reduce that impact, you must simply change your habits.

1. Rethink your petrol usage:
Graeme Scala, head of public affairs at the AA South Africa, says most petrol brands are as environmentally friendly as they can be. However, the way you use your fuel makes a huge difference. What’s more, when you use less petrol, you’ll not only be giving the environment a break, your budget will look better too.
Filling up less often may take a bit of planning, as you need to consider the most efficient route, and avoid making unnecessary trips. You also need to plan your drives around peak traffic hours, as the frequent stops and starts use up extra petrol. For this reason, it’s also a good idea to avoid sudden stops – if you see a red robot looming, try to slow down in advance rather than coming to a dead halt, and change gears as quickly as possible, as lower gears use more petrol. Also, keep your tyres pumped up, as soft tyres increase fuel consumption, and if you’re driving up a hill, use your handbrake rather than using the clutch. Of course, one of the best ways to save petrol is by carpooling, so try hitching a ride with your friends or colleagues.

2. Be responsible:
Used tyres, oil and batteries can be extremely hazardous to the environment. Scala points out that just one litre of oil can pollute millions of litres of water, while tyres and batteries – although non-biodegradable – can be recycled if disposed of correctly. That’s why it’s important that you never try to get rid of these items yourself; rather get the professionals to do it. ‘Most filling stations and dealership networks provide a used oil disposal service. Batteries can be taken to a hazardous material collection point,’ Scala says.

3. Buy green:
With hybrid and electric cars becoming more readily available in South Africa, it’s getting easier to be an eco-friendly driver.
When choosing a car, consider the vehicle’s emissions as well as fuel consumption. For example, although diesel cars use less fuel, they give out more emissions. The carbon footprint of the manufacturing process also determines whether or not your car is environmentally kind or cruel.