How to reduce your vehicle's emissions

The CO² emissions from vehicles are one of the biggest contributors to the production of greenhouse gases, which have brought about the patterns of climate change the world finds itself at the mercy of today. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), South Africa is 15th in the global list of largest CO² emitters. While South Africa may not be in the top five, or even top ten worst offenders, the country still contributes 1.2% towards global emissions. While the transport sector can take a number of steps to decrease its carbon footprint, so too can the average driver on South Africa’s roads. Here are four ways you can do your bit to reduce your vehicle’s emissions.

1. Maintain your vehicle

Taking your vehicle in for regular services will not only ensure it lasts longer, but also that it functions at its optimum level. If your engine is clean, oil is filled up, and tyres are inflated to the correct pressure, your vehicle will have to work less to keep running. If your vehicle has to work less, less petrol needs to be used and, ultimately, fewer emissions are produced. According to Saving Energy, just keeping your tyre pressure correct can reduce your CO² by 300 kilograms a year. Look out for service lights and other Warning Signs Your Car Needs a Service.

2. Try to avoid idling

While you can’t avoid idling at a red robot or stop street, you can try avoid idling in situations where you know you’ll be stationary for a longer period of time. Idling can use more petrol than restarting, so rather turn your vehicle off if you know you’ll be stopped for some time, and reduce the amount of emissions produced. Instead of going through a drive-thru, rather park and walk, or if you’re waiting for a friend or colleague to lift them to work and they aren’t ready immediately, switch the car off until they’ve arrived.

3. Reduce your use of the air conditioner

On hot summer days, turning your air conditioner on as you get into the car is an automatic action. But some air conditioners can use more fuel which, in turn, produces more emissions. While it may feel almost impossible to turn your air conditioner completely off in summer, it is possible to reduce the amount of time you use it. If you’re 15 minutes away from your destination, you can turn it off while the fan continues to blow cool air your way. In addition, ensure that you keep your vehicle’s windows closed when running the aircon, in order to cool the interior of your car faster. Also think about the temperature outside and, if it’s not extremely hot and you can manage with just the fan on, try do so.

4. Drive better

Braking fast, accelerating quickly and speeding in general pushes your car’s engine to work harder than normal. This will increase its fuel use, and produce more emissions during a car trip than is necessary. Driving at the correct speed and being gentle with your brakes and accelerator will reduce your fuel consumption. Driving smarter not only reduces your emissions but also puts less stress on your car and its parts. While we wait for technology to advance and provide greener fuel alternatives such as algae biofuel, we can do our bit to reduce emissions on a daily basis, no matter how small our efforts may seem. Not only can these tips save fuel and decrease the production of emissions, but they could also save you money in the long run. The information in this article is provided for informational purposes only.