The Flaming Vegan

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Fuelling Around
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Fuelling Around

It is often a worry, when motoring, taking into consideration the impact fuel emissions have on the environment. I recently bought a car and started driving again, after not having a car for nearly a year. I travelled mainly by bicycle and bus during that period, so I was being very “green”! I have been back on the road in my own car for just over 3 months now, which, I must admit, is a great relief! Sometimes I feel a bit guilty about that, inasmuch as public transport is better for the environment (or at least, it would be, if more people used it.) The problem is that the  transport  services are very bad where I live, particularly the buses, both very expensive and very unreliable, and cycling is only practical within the local area, not further than a distance of a few miles.

My global guilt is alleviated somewhat by the fact that my car is very economical on fuel: it is a Peugeot 106 Zest, with an engine size of 899cc, and it will do usually do about 50 miles to the gallon of petrol (or gas, as you call it, across the pond!) If I  am honest, I mainly bought this type of car for financial reasons, to save money on motoring but I am glad it is one of the most fuel-efficient models as well, so that hopefully my carbon footprint will not be too huge. I believe that the most eco-friendly engine you can use is a diesel one, and have had a diesel car before, and would like to have one again in the future. In the UK though the diesel models are not as common as the petrol ones, especially not on the second-hand market, which is where I bought my car.

A number of “green” vehicles exist in the market today, running on a variety of environmentally-friendlier fuels  than petrol, such as LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) and Bio-Diesel. Bio-Diesel is produced from renewable sources, and though carbon dioxide is emitted when it’s burned, the plants used to create the fuel absorb much of it to aid their growth. As a result, net emissions are considerably lower than traditional diesel. The fuel is not yet generally on sale at most fuel stations, but is gaining popularity with some motorists and may soon achieve more popularity at forecourts around the country. There are also electric cars which are charged, as opposed to being filled with fuel, but only a handful have made it onto the market. Solar cars are considered to be decades away from emerging as a realistic option, while on the other hand hydrogen-powered cars may be in general use within about 10 years.

In the meantime, whilst most of us are using conventional fuel vehicles, there are steps we can take to limit our own cars' impact on the environment, such as:

1) Pump your tyres up to the correct pressures, as recommended in your vehicle manual. Under-inflated tyres will force the car to work harder, and lower your fuel efficiency.

2) Switch off your engine if stationary for more than a few minutes. An idling engine is bad for the environment and a waste of money.

3) Lift-share where possible – it helps keep unnecessary cars off the road, and saves you money if you share fuel costs.

I follow these tips whenever I can, since I now drive almost everywhere once again, and they help to save me money on fuel, besides being better for the planet.

 

I hope you enjoyed this article! Your votes and comments are always appreciated.

 

Photo courtesy of www.fastcompany.com

 

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  1. Shabs Online
    Shabs Online
    Voted #2 Great post...you really are a concerned person n I respect you for that. I too, try to save fuel in every possible manner. With Petrol being the most hiked commodity in our country, all of us should automatically start saving on it. I am aware about the techniques one shall practice while driving but still wanted to know one thing, if you can tell. Doesn't starting the engine all over again uses the same or more amount of petrol than the amount we waste being stationary with engine 'on' for a minute or two...??
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  2. Akanksha
    Akanksha
    #4...still wondering what to write here...The image is too touchy..I go out of words... I heard about electric cars but very few people use them because it is hard to get them repaired or serviced!
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  3. SnakeWitch
    You are obviously concerned about the impact you're having on the environment. The fact that you bought your car used is good, so long as it is well maintained - keep doing the tri-monthly tune ups to make sure the engine runs smoothly. Change the oil whenever needed (you could ask a buddy to teach you how if you don't know - it's very easy). I am someone who has refused to even get her driver's licence so as to never be tempted by a car and I must say that I don't feel like I'm missing out on something, surely because I've never really known it in my adult life. Even as a teenager, I was always happy to bus around instead of being driven or taking a cab. The only time I felt it was necessary to ask my parents to take me anywhere was if I was on a tight schedule or if I had something important, such as my dance competitions. As for biofuel, I have to say that there is a debate going on about that. The problem with it is not the type of emissions caused but the space needed to grow the corn. Companies are tearing down the Amazon to grow the crops and the damage done to the environment is substantial and other forms of energy sources are going to be needed very quickly to replace that one, anyways, especially if we don't want to end up without our planet's most important ecosystem. For now, my vote is with electric cars or, at least, hybrids. As for alleviating your guilt, how about working as a volunteer for an environmental organisation, or starting up petitions to give to your city counsel for better public transport? There are surely lots of things you can do. Voted!
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    1. Veganara
      Veganara
      Thanks for the votes and comments everyone. @ Shabs, that is a good question you ask about starting the engine up again, and doesn't that use the same amount of fuel, or more, than letting it run for a couple of minutes?! I don't know the answer, I must find out. @ Annie, I didn't know that about biofuels either, that they are also destructive to the envionment! It's a big dilemma, isn't it?!! As you say, I think electric cars are probably the way forward, if we could get more of them on the market, and garages that can repair and service them, as Akanksha points out. I would be happy not to drive a car at all if I lived in an area better served by public transport; when I lived in London I didn't miss having a car at all, as the Tube (underground trains) and buses get you everywhere you need to go there! But as I say, it is extremely isolating living in my current area with no car, as it is so hard to get around.
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      1. SnakeWitch
        Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention - the corn is gmo, so large quantities of chemicals are used, too.
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        1. SnakeWitch
          And I understand where you're coming from, too. That is why I suggested the petition and emails to the mayor for better public transport. ;)
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  4. Zack
    Zack
    I've done a lot of research into parking lots and external costs of cars, the energy wasted by car tires and everything haha, so you definitely hit the nail on the head here! Its amazing how wasteful all the little habits can end up being. You have my vote, when the site lets me give more! Also, I wrote a new article on the health of the ocean, a fishy tale, come check it out =)
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    1. Veganara
      Veganara
      Just read and voted on your article Zack. Yes, please don't forget to vote on mine, when you get some more! (we are limitted to 10 votes per day here, I don't know if you knew that).
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  5. Shabs Online
    Shabs Online
    Also plz check my latest on Soy..vote of u like it..Thnzz.. :)
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    1. Veganara
      Veganara
      Will do Shabs.
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  6. BuddhasDelight
    BuddhasDelight
    brilliant article! great tips. and i love the clever title :) voted!
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  7. Anita Vegana
    Voted. This is a delicate subject, and you take it on well.
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  8. Roopam
    Nice post...very thoughtful...I suppose we all need to start thinking and acting in this direction...voted!
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  9. kristo
    kristo
    Voted! this island is an environmental nightmare and would love to see some of the alternatives, such as bio fuel and electric vehicles zipping around the bumpy roads. the sky is just too purple at the moment.
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  10. Fifi Leigh
    Fifi Leigh
    it is interesting to read about other culture's lifestyle. i haven't been to London since i was 12. I am sure the area has changed since then. I mostly remember the downtown London area, which was crowded like NYC, and my family mostly walked around or took the black cab to different tourist attractions.
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