Keynsham Voice March column: Tony Mitchell talks all things car economy

Did you know that 25% of CO2 emissions are caused by our vehicles, with growing consequences including for children’s health, and in exacerbating climate change? What can we do to mitigate it?

Joining a car sharing scheme can help. Certainly, minimising use must be a priority.  I normally walk into Keynsham from the top of Wellsway and cycle to Saltford. There are good bus services to Bath and Bristol and I catch the train to London and Oxford. Not owning a car may become a serious consideration.

Find out the manufacturer’s emissions and fuel consumption figures for your car. If the former exceeds 100g/km and the latter is not less than 50 combined miles per gallon, that is not good enough. Avoid diesel. The more powerful the car you own, the more pollution you are causing. You can check your true fuel consumption (and your driving) by recording your mileage and fuel purchases for six months, then dividing the former by the latter.

Your driving technique can make a big contribution; safety and the environment make rally-style driving unacceptable on our public roads. Emphases must include smooth acceleration, good anticipation, eggshell braking and keeping well away from the car in front. Most cars minimise their fuel use at around 56 – 60mph. Above that, consumption and costs quicken. Research has shown that in 2000, if speed limits had been rigorously observed, 12 million tonnes of CO2 would have been saved; in 2007 a 60mph speed limit would have reduced emissions by 30%.  Avoid running the engine when significantly held up or to ‘warm up’.

Everyone, especially those who think they are good drivers, should take an Advanced Driving test.

A well-maintained car is very important.  Incorrect tyre pressure creates pollution. Keep your tank half-full and minimise the use of air conditioning.

Doing all this will make you a safer driver, save money and reduce pollution and carbon emissions, but it won’t provide the ultimate solution. We must accelerate our shift to a zero-carbon economy with electric cars, renewable energy and carbon-zero farming. We must stop poisoning our only home before it is too late.

Published in Keynsham Voice, March 2019,

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