5 Sustainable Tips To Be A More Eco-Friendly Car Owner

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This is a collaborative post.

Owning a car is hardly seen as the most eco-friendly or sustainable thing on the planet. Cars are responsible for a lot of carbon emissions, and a huge wave of people are clamouring for things to change. 

Many advocates suggest that switching to more eco-friendly travel options is the smartest choice. This would make sense if it weren’t for how unreliable public transport is. You can’t rely on trains or buses anymore, so car ownership is – ironically – more essential than ever. 

Don’t fret; you can still be a car owner and have a low carbon footprint with these sustainable and eco-friendly tips: 

electric car suv

Buy Used and Trade In Your Old Car

When buying a new car, you should always look at the used car market if you wish to be as sustainable as possible. Remember the mantra of reduce, reuse and recycle. That’s the key to true sustainability; you want to reduce waste, reuse as much as possible and then recycle if something can’t be reused anymore. 

Cars benefit from lasting many years before they need to be scrapped. If you take good care of your vehicle, you can easily trade it in for an upgrade. When searching for how to sell my car, you should focus on used car dealerships that’ll accept your vehicle for a part-exchange deal. 

This way, your old car will eventually get a new owner and live on while you take on someone else’s old car. It’s the perfect way to reuse things and reduce waste generated by cars. If everyone did this, we’d reduce the number of new cars being manufactured, which would massively decrease carbon emissions and help the environment. 

Switch To Hybrid or Electric Powertrains

Instead of using a typical petrol or diesel engine, you should switch to hybrid or electric cars. This is a no-brainer for the long-term sustainability of this industry. Electric cars produce zero emissions when in use, so you’re automatically driving a more eco-friendly car. 

Of course, there are problems related to the electric car infrastructure in this country that need to change before everyone can drive an electric vehicle. Some of you may not live near charging points and you might be unable to install one at home because you rent a flat. If this is true for you, a full hybrid is the next-best option. 

There are two main types of hybrid cars: full and plug-in. You’ll probably find subcategories within the two types, but the main difference is as follows. A plug-in hybrid has a battery that works like an electric car and will supply your vehicle with electrical energy. It reduces your fuel consumption as the battery takes over some of the load. At the end of the day, you can plug your car into an electric car charging port and recharge the battery. 

So, it’s still not ideal if you don’t have many chargers around but at least the car’s engine will work with an empty hybrid battery. A full hybrid is better as the battery effectively charges itself when you brake or decelerate. You can drive using electric power only when in cities at low speeds or use the battery alongside the engine for longer trips. Calling upon a battery to help the engine will make the car more eco-efficient. 

In any case, opting for an EV or hybrid car will be smart as you look towards a sustainable future. Both will cut carbon emissions and you’ll feel a lot better about your environmental impact while driving. 

Don’t Load Your Car Unless Necessary

Driving a heavy car will burn more fuel than a lighter one. You can’t change how much the car itself weighs, but you can determine all the extra weight. Having a car full of people isn’t necessarily a bad thing – you need to take your kids to school or perhaps you’re helping coworkers out (which is actually very good from a sustainability perspective). 

Other instances when it’s necessary to have a loaded car include when you’re going shopping or travelling for a holiday with suitcases in the back. In any of these situations, it’s perfectly fine to load your car as you’re getting some practical use out of it. 

However, get into the habit of emptying your car if you don’t need it to be loaded. Get rid of any bags or things that weigh down your vehicle but aren’t being used. Maybe you started storing things in your car and forgot about them – whatever the reason for these things being in your vehicle, they should be removed to make it lighter. Drive the lightest car possible whenever you head out and it will conserve fuel. 

eco friendly car electric car

Stick To The Speed Limits

This is one of the best sustainability tips for car owners, yet arguably the hardest to stick to. Speed limits exist for safety reasons, but curbing your speeding can also aid the environment. There was a report from The Guardian a couple of years ago that looked into this in more detail. The lowdown is that your car burns through more fuel when it goes above 50 mph to combat the increased air resistance. Every mile per hour above 50 you go, the more fuel you’ll burn. 

It’s even more pronounced at higher speeds – like when you’re going 80 on a motorway instead of 70. That extra 10 mph makes a huge difference and will mean your car guzzles down fuel at a rapid rate. If you’re constantly above the speed limit everywhere, there’s a higher chance you’ll be refilling your car more often. 

As you can imagine, this is terrible for the environment. It means your car burns more fuel and releases more carbon emissions while also increasing the demand for fuel. As drivers, if we all drove slower and more responsibly, we’d create far fewer dangerous gases from our cars! 

Learn How To Wash Your Car Sustainably

Did you know that washing your car can be pretty bad for the environment in a myriad of ways? For one, you can use so much water while you wash it. Secondly, many of the car cleaning products on sale contain harsh chemicals designed to wipe away tough marks. That’s great for your car, but where do these chemicals go? Most people wash their cars on their drive, so the water runs off into a drainage area and down into the sewers. It then gets washed out to sea, potentially harming marine life. 

To stop this, use more eco-friendly car shampoo and washing products without harsh chemicals. It’s also beneficial to clear your car with a pressure washer as this reduces water usage. Round things off by cleaning your vehicle away from drainage areas just to be safe. That last part isn’t “essential” if you use eco-friendly products as they shouldn’t do any damage to life when washed down the drain, but it’s still a good habit to get into. 

There are two key points you should take with you as you finish reading this guide. Firstly, don’t let people tell you that you’re doing a bad thing by owning a car. If you play your cards right, you can become a sustainable and eco-friendly car owner – which leads nicely onto the second point. It’s easy to drive more sustainably and make your car more environmentally friendly. This isn’t rocket science; the five tips above are all incredibly simplistic and can be applied to anyone across the country. Don’t be fooled into believing that driving a car is wholly unsustainable! 

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