How to keep costs low while reducing your carbon footprint. By Jamie Roberts

If you drive with an environmentally-conscious mindset, you may save yourself money while also being green. By undergoing certain actions, you can reduce your fuel bills and prevent unnecessary car maintenance. It may come as a surprise just what savings you could actually make. Here with Lookers we investigate further:

Fuel economy
When it comes to how much fuel you are using, there are several tweaks you could make to ensure you improve the fuel economy of your vehicle.

Did you know that by simply changing gears at lower revs you can use less fuel? This is because you are preventing your engine from overworking. To be precise, drivers are recommended to change gears when the vehicle’s rev counter reaches around 2000rpm for diesel and 2500rpm for petrol. This won’t only prevent your engine from overworking either; it will also ensure that your clutch and gearbox run smoother for longer.

Another, perhaps surprising, way to be fuel efficient is by make sure your windows are up when you drive. By hitting the road with your windows down, the drag is increased which can cause your vehicle to slow down. This will mean that more fuel is needed to complete your journey. But don’t be fooled into thinking your air conditioning system is a good alternative. Letting the air conditioning run will also increase your fuel usage. One study even discovered that your air con uses more fuel than if you have your windows down. With these two issues in mind, opening a window is the better of the two options, but only do so if absolutely necessary for the greenest approach.

Be cautious of your speed
If your vehicle has cruise control, you should apply this technology when you are driving on flat terrain at high speeds. This is because it can keep your car at a steady speed which will therefore improve your fuel economy. If you are quick to accelerate, or brake hard when you come to traffic lights, you might be cutting your fuel efficiency by up to 33 per cent. If you keep to a constant speed, your journey will be far more economic. You should also take the opportunity to turn off your vehicle’s engine if you are stationary too, as this can also reduce your fuel consumption.

A good tip to follow is to keep a sensible speed. It may not be surprising, but driving at speeds over 70mph will burn through your fuel tank at a faster rate than if you drive below the threshold. Your emissions are also hugely increased. In fact, you may need to spend up to 25 per cent more on your fuel if you consistently drive at 70mph compared to 50mph. Therefore, avoid driving too fast wherever possible.

However, that doesn’t mean you should drive too slow, as the same can be applied to that too. Driving at speeds of less than 15mph is where most vehicle pollution is released. Carbon emissions lessen when you accelerate to 60mph and increase again when speed exceeds this figure.

Anticipate what’s ahead
As already mentioned, the best bet is to keep to a steady speed and make sure you’re not braking too hard or accelerating too quickly. So, how can you best do this? Well, it’s important to anticipate what is going on in front of you and plan ahead. If you notice that there are traffic lights ahead, start to slow your vehicle well before so you avoid harsh braking in case the light changes colour. Also, you should lower your speed and give yourself plenty of distance if you notice you’re coming up to stand-still traffic. You should try to prevent coming to a halt entirely wherever possible as this can also help you make a small saving on your fuel cost. If you leave a significant gap between your car and the vehicle that is directly in front of you, you will also improve your safety levels in the car.

It’s clear that there are a lot of benefits from going green. By following the above tips, you can recognise that you are doing your bit — both for your bank balance and the environment!

Jamie Roberts is professional copywriter working on behalf of Lookers. With a heritage to parallel the brands it supplies, the Lookers Group has grown through a combination of innovation and investment, to offer one of the most modern retail experiences in the UK today. Its extensive portfolio allows access to a wide range of new and approved used cars from 32 major car manufacturers, as well the most desirable motorcycles, vans and competitive leasing contracts.