Britain's Cars Are Getting Greener

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Today’s cars generate 14 per cent of all CO2 emissions in the UK, marginally less than in 2000, despite an increase of 4 million cars on the road according to Energy use and CO2 emissions, the latest motoring facts report from road safety charity the IAM.

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Despite what many green experts may say, Britain’s drivers and the motoring industry are doing their bit to reduce carbon emissions

Today’s cars generate 14 per cent of all CO2 emissions in the UK, marginally less than in 2000, despite an increase of 4 million cars on the road according to Energy use and CO2 emissions, the latest motoring facts report from road safety charity the IAM.

While carbon emissions from all forms of road transport continue to rise, the rate from cars fell from 196 grams of CO2 per km in 1997 to 174 grams CO2 per km in 2008. Total UK emissions are forecast to increase but those from cars are set to continue falling.

The report also finds that:

  •     People’s perception is that cars and aircraft are the two biggest carbon polluters, when in fact the top two are power stations and industry.
  •     Since 1997 the overall fuel economy of new cars has improved by a quarter, mostly in the last ten years.
  •     Average new car fuel consumption for petrol cars fell from 8.28 litres per 100km in 1997 to 6.93 litres per 100km in 2008.
  •     Households produce as much CO2 as cars.
  •     The biggest single consumer is the energy generating industry itself when it converts one form or energy into another (for example oil to electricity) and through energy lost in distribution.

IAM director of policy and research Neil Greig said: “Despite what many green experts may say, Britain’s drivers and the motoring industry are doing their bit to reduce carbon emissions. Drivers are shifting to greener engines and have embraced incentives like cheaper vehicle excise duty for more fuel efficient models.
“Manufacturers should also take credit for producing models across the range that are cleaner and greener. But driving style is crucial - the best fuel-saver is a light right foot and anticipation of the road ahead.”
How to improve your MPG and cut carbon emissions:

  •     Keep your vehicle moving rather than stopping and starting. Look further ahead and slow down earlier to avoid stopping. Driving at a constant speed is far more fuel efficient than heavy accelerating and braking.
  •     Check your tyres. Under-inflated tyres have a big impact on fuel economy.
  •     Put your car on a diet. remove unnecessary weight, including roof racks, car clutter and heavy items in the boot.
  •     Try to avoid using air conditioning and climate control at low speeds as they increase fuel consumption. Open a window.
  •     However at high speeds, close your windows to maintain the aerodynamics of the car. Use air-con to get the car to a comfortable temperature, and then turn it off to save fuel.
  •     Clean screens rarely mist up - so you’ll use the heater and air-conditioning less.
  •     Try changing up your gears earlier; for petrol engines at 2,500 rpm (revs per minute), and diesel engines 2,000 rpm
  •     Reverse into parking bays: manoeuvring with a cold engine uses more fuel, so make the most of having a hot engine.
  •     It will take most cars at least a couple of miles to warm up and run efficiently. Could you walk or cycle?
  •     Drive at an even pace over speed humps. Slowing down and speeding up drinks more fuel.
  •     Stick to the speed limit.

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Ben Schofield

Caroline Holmes
IAM
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