Car sharing & eco-driving tips

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Car sharing

Car Share

By sharing a vehicle with others who are making the same journey, you can benefit from the convenience of a car whilst alleviating some of the associated problems such as congestion and pollution. 

There are many websites available such as Herts Liftshare which can help you link up with other local people who are willing to car share. There are many UK-wide and locally based website that can be found by searching the internet.

Just think, your next drive to work might be in a BMW!

Eco-driving tips

Eco-driving is about driving in a style that reduces fuel consumption, noise and greenhouse gas emissions. By driving smarter, the average UK driver could save between £300 and £350 each year. 
  • Reduce load and drag: remove any excess weight or any attachment which causes drag so that your car doesn't need to work harder to accelerate. 
  • Plan ahead: plan unfamiliar journeys and check the traffic in advance to avoid wasting fuel getting lost or stuck in traffic. 
  • Combine short trips: cold starts use more fuel so try to combine errands into one journey.
  • Switch off when idling: idling wastes fuel so it is better to switch the engine off if you are likely to be stationary for more than a minute or two. Modern cars use virtually no extra fuel when they are re-started without pressing the accelerator so you won’t waste lots of fuel turning the car back on.
  • Drive smoothly: anticipate the road ahead to avoid unnecessary braking and acceleration. Decelerate early when slowing down.
  • Keep moving: try and keep the car moving rather stopping and starting, by anticipating the road ahead of you. Don’t roll out of gear though as you won’t have full control of your vehicle. 
  • Shift to a higher gear early: change up a gear at around 2000 and 2500 rpm. This makes such a difference to fuel economy that all cars in the future are likely to be fitted with an indicator light which will show the most efficient gear change points.
  • Air-con: air-conditioning uses more fuel at low speeds, but at higher speeds the effects are less noticeable. Try and keep the air conditioning for high speed driving. Aim to run it at least once a week throughout the year to maintain the system in good condition. 
  • Electricals: electricals in your car increase fuel consumption so turn off your heated rear windscreen, demister blowers and headlights, when you don't need them.
  • Slow down: the faster you drive the more fuel you consume. For instance, driving at 85 mph uses 25% more fuel than at 70 mph. 
  • Consider alternatives: if you only need to travel a few miles, consider walking or cycling.
  • Servicing: Get your car serviced regularly to maintain engine efficiency
  • Maintenance: make sure you use the right specification of engine oil for your car and check your tyre pressure regularly. Under-inflated tyres create more resistance and so use more fuel.

Choosing a new car

If you're thinking of replacing your car then now is the time to do a bit of research to see what vehicles are available which suit your needs but also save you money in the longer term. The Department for Transport provides online tools for determining the fuel consumption, emissions performance and tax banding of a wide range of vehicle makes and models to help you decide. 

With the infrastructure for electric vehicles growing, it's also a great time to be thinking about purchasing an electric car.

Date of last review: 29 November 2016