Somerset Wildlife Trust

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Greener travel

 4th Oct 2010

Nicky S sml

We're working hard to reduce our own carbon footprint at the Trust. We have calculated how much CO2 we are adding to the atmosphere as accurately as we can, and are now setting about trying to cut this down.

I'd like to pass on some of what we've found out with 10 top tips for helping our environment. This time we're looking at driving and cars.

Driving and cars


recumbent bike1. Slow down  - steady speeds of 40-50mph tend to give optimum fuel economy (your vehicle manual may tell you this precisely). 50mph can use up to 25% less fuel than 70mph!

2. Drive smoothly ­ avoiding sharp braking and accelerating reduces wear and tear on your car and can save up to 30% on fuel costs (according to the RAC). Leave a gap between you and the car in front to make this easier.

3. Limit air conditioning ­ this increases fuel consumption by about 10%. Use those air vents when you can! Try not to open windows as this increases drag and therefore raises fuel consumption.

4. Switch off the engine if you are stationery for more than 2 minutes ­ idling for this long takes more fuel than it does to restart the engine (Environmental Transport Association).


5. Change gear at the right time ­ at about 2500rpm for petrol cars and 2000rpm for diesel cars.

6. Remove junk from your boot or backseat and take the roofrack off when you don’t need it ­ every kilo counts!

7. Maintain your car well ­ clean filters, tyres at correct pressure etc.


8. Give someone a lift ­ sharing halves the cost. Plus you might make friends or just have a great conversation.  Share the school run or your commute ­ if there isn’t a scheme near you, then start one!

9. Buy a smaller, more efficient car, or consider sharing one. Most cars are parked for 90% of their lives ­ fewer cars on the road means easier parking, less congestion, faster commutes.

10. Walk, cycle or use public transport whenever you can. Start just trying to replace one trip per week, buy an electric bike or do a sponsored bike ride to get you going.

Here's some other websites you might find useful: (car efficiency data) (electric vehicles in Taunton) (all things bike) (new car buyer’s guide with environmental rating) (bike forum site)

Photograph copyright wikipedia.