Help wallet and planet

When it comes to driving habits, we often ignore the ability to drive economically, which happens to be the same as environmentally. 

Of course, safe driving habits needs to overrule any attempt to drive economically. For example, you cannot drive at 40 km/h on a road with a speed designation of 80 km/h.

You become a hazard and you will ultimately risk getting a traffic violation ticket.

However, there are many things we can do to drive economically. Eighty per cent of new vehicles do not have a spare tire. It is not because we have run flat tires on vehicles today.

We do add a solution that is designed to seal or slow a leak, but really you are now stuck with making a phone call to the car's manufacturer to arrange for the repair, which is not economical, but as it turns out is a benefit to the environment.

Sort of!

The lack of a spare tire in a vehicle reduces the weight which allows most manufacturers to meet the stringent emission requirements that until a few days ago were in existence, at least in the U.S.

But how can you personally make a difference?

Here are a few tips:

  • Make sure you check your tire pressures against the decal on the B pillar of your car inside the driver's door frame. Running low tires is the easiest way to guzzle more fuel. 
  • Have your wheel alignment checked. A poor alignment leads to increased rolling resistance, which means you will consume more fuel. 
  • Check the drive settings on your vehicle. Make sure you have selected the economy setting.
  • Monitor you litres per hundred kilometres to compare one fill up to the next. 
  • Plan to avoid traffic snarls. The more you can drive at or close to the speed limit, the better off you will be.​
  • If you drive a standard gear-box vehicle, learn to short shift. In other words, change gear a little earlier than you typically would. If you change too early, the car will chug, which is not good for the car or economy, but changing a little earlier will go a long way. 
  • With an automatic gear box, you can “feel” when you are close to a gear change and with a slight lift of the throttle, you can force an automatic gear box to short shift also. 
  • Accelerate smoothly and a little slower than normal. Putting your right foot down hard off the line is what consumes a lot of fuel. Getting there a little more slowly will help a lot. 
  • If you have a turbo, learn to drive the car using the turbo as little as possible. You may have a boost gauge, which will tell you when the turbo is working or you can hear it. If not a turbo typically will really kick in around 3,000-3,500 r.p.m. Learn to back off the throttle at that point a little and you will reduce the gas guzzling turbo from kicking in hard. 
  • Take advantage of the down hills. I see people brake going downhill and accelerate going uphill! Why? You can use the downhill stretch to maintain the speed limit and then, as travel uphill, learn to slowly and carefully back off the throttle so that you maximize the natural momentum of the car. 
  • Learn to drive without using the brakes. That means keeping a safe distance between you and the car in front and approaching corners by decelerating carefully to the correct speed rather than braking at the last minute. 
  • If you do all of the above, stay in the right lane of a two lane highway, because you will not need to block traffic driving slowly in the left lane.

Then you can save the extra money in an account to buy your next vehicle.


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About the Author

Mark has been an entrepreneur for more than 40 years. His experience spans many commercial sectors and aspects of business.

He was one of the youngest people to be appointed as a Fellow of the prestigious Institute of Sales and Marketing Management before he left the U.K. in 1988.

His column focuses on ways we can improve on success in our lives. Whether it is business, relationships, or health, Mark has a well-rounded perspective on how to stay focused for growth and development.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an adventurer, philanthropist and keynote speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website www.markjenningsbates.com

He is a Venture Partner with www.DutchOracle.com a global Alternative Investment company.

Mark Jennings-Bates:
[email protected]

Photo credit: www.SteveAustin.ca 

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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