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The Attenborough effect: How to reduce your CO2 emissions for cleaner, greener driving

Want to follow in the footsteps of Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough by doing your bit to reduce CO2 emissions? In this article we share a few tips you can use to reduce your carbon footprint.

Everyone is looking to do their part for the planet, and one of the most significant ways we can make is difference is by making changes to the way we travel. Transport is the single biggest contributor to  the UK’s carbon footprint, accounting for 27% of all carbon emissions, according to the latest government figures. The report also found that the majority of those emissions came from petrol and diesel vehicles on our roads. Clearly, if we want to make a lasting difference to the nation’s carbon footprint, then we need to change the way we drive. Here, we’ve shared some top tips for greener car journeys.

Upgrade to electric or hybrid

If you’re serious about reducing your carbon footprint and want to make a significant, long-term lifestyle change, you may want to consider upgrading to an electric or hybrid vehicle. Fully electric cars have zero tailpipe CO2, NOx and particulate emissions, meaning they’re by far and away the greenest and most eco-friendly type of vehicle. They’re also very cost-efficient to run and maintain, particularly as you don’t need to spend money on costly petrol or diesel fuel. If you can access or install a charge point at home, and are serious about becoming more eco-friendly, then a fully electric vehicle could be the best choice for you.

Hybrid cars combine a petrol (or sometimes diesel) engine with an electric motor and battery, meaning they don’t need to be plugged in to charge up. Instead, energy is generated when the car brakes, which can then be used to supplement the combustion engine with electric power for short periods. This helps to significantly reduce the overall amount of carbon emissions the vehicle produces.

While hybrids aren’t as clean as fully electric models, they are still greener than the average petrol or diesel car. Hybrids are particularly well-suited to lots of stop-start journeys, so they’re an especially good choice for city dwellers who make lots of shorter trips or often get caught in traffic. And, as they don’t need plugging in to charge up, they’re a good solution for drivers who may not be able to have access a charge point at home. So, depending on your circumstances, a hybrid car may be your best option.

Use an exhaust and fuel cleaner

If you’re not quite ready to make the switch to electric, or drive a hybrid vehicle, there are still things you can do to help keep those CO2 emissions as low as possible. Using a good quality exhaust and fuel cleaner from time to time will remove contaminants that could otherwise clog up your engine and fuel system, ensuring that everything is running smoothly and that your car is as fuel-efficient as possible. You can a buy fuel injector cleaner to use at home. Many garages will also give you the option to add a fuel cleaner as part of a service.

Some premium fuels – usually the ones labelled as ‘super’, ‘ultimate’ or ‘premium’ at the petrol pump – include cleaning agents that are designed to help keep your engine in top condition while maximising efficiency. So, it could be worth doing a bit of research to see if any of these are suitable for your car.

Check your tyres regularly

You probably already know that tyre tread depth and pressure are important for the safety of your car. But did you know that keeping your tyres topped up and in good condition can do wonders for fuel economy, too? Your car tyres lose around 1 psi (or 0.076 bars) of pressure every month through normal use, according to Michelin. And, a 20% under-inflated tyre will typically give 20% less economy.

Under or overinflated tyres can also reduce the lifespan of your tyres, meaning they’ll need to be replaced more often, which is both costly and bad for the environment. So, it really is very important to check your tyre pressure at least once a month, and be vigilant about keeping the pressure within the range recommended in your car owner’s manual. It may help to invest in a tyre inflating tool you can use at home if you often forget to top up your tyres while at the petrol station.

Drive sensibly

We all know that it’s wise to drive sensibly to help keep ourselves and other road users safe. But, it’s not just about safety: driving in a steady, measured way can help to make your driving more fuel efficient – and therefore more eco-friendly – too. Even little changes to your driving style, such as changing gear earlier, keeping the revs low, and avoiding sudden braking unless it’s necessary, can all have quite a significant impact on your car’s carbon emissions. Plus, steady, thoughtful driving can also pay dividends for your car in the long term, as it can help to reduce wear and tear while maintaining efficiency.

The climate crisis won’t be resolved any time soon unless we all take action and do our bit to reduce carbon emissions. But, by switching to electric and hybrid vehicles, keeping our cars in good condition, and driving sensibly to conserve fuel, we can lessen the impact of our travel on the environment.

Mark Barclay, Ecommerce Manager at GSF Car Parts