driving and the environment

Our environment is in crisis, and it’s on us to change the way we live in order to protect our planet for the years to come. The transport industry takes a huge toll on the environment, and it’s accountable for the biggest amount of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. However, our modern lifestyles demand that we travel, so how can we manage the impact?

The use of fossil fuels to fuel our vehicles is arguably one of the most pressing issues, and as a result, many companies are making efforts to produce eco-friendly, electric vehicles in their place. But for many, these options remain unaffordable. In this article, we will explore the impact of driving on the environment, and consider how we can help to reduce the damage.

Small daily changes

Small daily changes add up, and that couldn’t be truer when it comes to the ways in which we use our vehicles. Choosing to drive a few miles for the sake of speed rather than cycling or walking, or leaving your engine idle when parked up and waiting, has a massive impact when it comes to your carbon footprint.

There are many ways to adapt the way you drive to make it more eco-friendly. From maintaining a constant speed to switching your gears early, making small changes to your driving habits will help you do your part when driving a petroleum-fuelled vehicle.

Upgrading responsibly

If you can, upgrading to a hybrid or electric vehicle is the best way to reduce the environmental impact of your travels. Otherwise, look for models with features such as stop-start engines, cruise control and other fuel saving functions. Typically, the newer the car, the better its eco-friendly attributes will be.

As well as the emissions produced during travel, it’s worth mentioning that emissions are also produced during the manufacturing of vehicles. This is known as embodied emissions, and research shows that it’s actually more economical in this sense to drive your fuel-powered vehicles until the end of their lifespan than upgrading them immediately to an electric model.

When it comes to disposing of your old car, be sure to do so responsibly. Selling your car to a scrap dealer means that the parts of your car which can be recycled will be given new life. Make sure the company is an Authorised Treatment Facility, as they are able to safely dispose of the fuel and chemical aspects of your car without damaging the environment.

Using public transport

Whilst it doesn’t offer the same level of comfort and privacy as driving does, taking public transport is a great way to cut the emissions from your journey. Wherever you can, opting to take a train or a bus over driving will reduce your carbon footprint largely.

Travelling more sustainably is something we all need to start doing, and every time you do so you’ll be supporting the global environment. If you need to hop on a train, book economy seats rather than first-class and you’ll immediately halve the carbon footprint of your journey. Whilst the exact emissions depend on many factors, the consensus is that public transport will always be more eco-friendly than a personal vehicle.

Staying mindful

Ultimately, simply being more aware of your driving habits and making small changes to the ways in which you travel will go a long way towards reducing the damaging effects of driving on the environment. If we can all work together to be more environmentally friendly with our travel, we can help reduce the impact of driving on our planet.

Mick is a university professor who strives to educate others on ways to help protect our planet from the effects of climate change. He also enjoys walking his dog, Rufus, in the woods and playing the guitar.