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.
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