Dave's Eco-nomics: Sustainable driving


In Europe, there are about 500 cars for every 1,000 people. Manufacturers are clamouring to produce hybrid and electric models, but it's hard to imagine most drivers immediately ditching their serviceable car for a small green one. And sending a load more cars into the world is hardly the brightest answer to the carbon conundrum. With fuel prices going off the dial, use your old car more sensibly and help keep your costs down, too.


Aim for smooth acceleration, changing gear at the right revs. The AA advises changing up at 2,000 rpm in diesel cars, 2,500 in petrol. Decelerate gently too - by reading the road you can avoid slamming on your brakes. It pains the boy racer in me to say it, but stick to the speed limit. The Department for Transport says flying at 80 mph can use 25% more petrol than 70 mph. Don't let the engine tick over - fire it up and go. Then keep rolling - that uses less fuel than stop/starting. Keep your tyres pumped, as under-inflation uses more fuel; roof-racks and open windows cause drag, which does the same. Use your air-con only when necessary, and your dashboard-ful of Bond-style gadgets sparingly. Lastly, know where you're going. Driving around in circles raises more than just the temper of your passengers.

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