Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Reducing carbon footprint: Thou shalt act!

Continued from: So you drive a lot, huh?

There are some things that I do while traveling (especially driving) that are effective, and I wish to share these points with you -
  • Drive at the optimal speed for your car: Every car is engineered to supply optimal efficiency at a particular range of speeds. Find it out, and use it to your benefit! Out here, most cars are tuned to perform their best at 110 - 130 kmph. In different countries or cities, depending on the traffic conditions, the optimal speeds may be different - but, you get the most out of your fuel-tank when you know how to drive your car best.
  • Check the tire air-pressure: This is a very important detail often overlooked by drivers too lazy to bend once a month! Not only do correctly filled tires keep your car safe and save them from unnecessary wear, they also help supply superior mileage i.e. it saves you money to keep your tires at optimal pressure.
  • Don't shift to neutral, brake and shift-down: Shifting the gear to neutral well before the stop-point actually results in the engine idling the fuel away. Modern motors are capable of switching the fuel-supply off till the engine RPM breaches a certain lower limit. (also called Schubabschaltung in German) Applying the brake without shifting to neutral helps you use this feature. Shifting your gears to neutral too early will cause the engine to reach the idling RPM immediately and hence it will continue consuming fuel while you are decelerating. You can make even better use of this feature by switching to lower gears till you reach a low speed such that the engine remains at a high-rpm while braking!
  • Diesel is no longer dirty: I don't know why, but Diesel gained a reputation of being unclean and noisy. This is not true any more. Diesel has the great advantage of supplying more energy per unit fuel than any variety of Gasoline / Petrol you see out there. Good diesels make full use of this advantage to supply better mileage than their Gasoline counterparts and come equipped with a particle-filter et al that keep the exhaust clean as it can get. If you need more incentive, then here's it - Diesel motors have a higher torque than gasoline-counterparts of the same capacity and supply great acceleration!
  • Share your trip, pool your car: It makes sense.
  • Don't drive with windows open at high speeds: The drag caused by open windows can reduce the fuel efficiency of a car by up to 15%.
This helps the environment and keeps a conscientious driver from feeling overtly guilty too!

No comments: