How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint as a Driver

For many people today, driving is an essential means of getting from one place to the next. However, while lots of us rely on our cars to get around, there is no denying that it has been doing a lot of damage to the environment over time. Not only is fuel a non-renewable resource but driving also leads to air pollution and has contributed massively to climate change over time, along with other serious environmental issues. So, it’s no surprise that driving has become a serious matter in terms of environmental protection, with drivers, car manufacturers, and the government all working to make getting around kinder to the environment overall.

How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

reduce your carbon footprint
Image Credit: Pxhere

If you are concerned for the environment and want to do more to reduce your carbon footprint, then considering what car you drive, how you drive, and how often you drive is a good place to start. As a driver, there are lots of things you can do to make sure that getting around is not causing unnecessary environmental harm.

Drive an Electric Car

As a car driver, one of the biggest changes you can make to be kinder to the environment is the car that you drive. Rather than relying on filling a combustion engine car with petrol or diesel, switching to an electric car is much kinder to the environment overall. They rely on electricity to run, or if you go for a hybrid car, they use both electricity and a traditional combustion engine, which is usually used as a backup engine to keep you on the road if your electric battery runs out.

Electric cars do not give off any toxic emissions or contribute to pollution when you are driving them, although there is still some work to be done when it comes to the pollution that is caused by the manufacturing of electric cars and the generation of electricity used to charge them. Along with being better for the environment, there are several other benefits of EVs to be aware of including exemption from VED or car tax, cheaper running costs, and cheaper maintenance overall. You can find out more from the handy guides at LV Electrix.

Drive Less

Most drivers are guilty of jumping in the car for journeys that they didn’t really need to drive to make. If you’re not yet in a position to make the switch to driving an electric or hybrid car, then simply driving less can make a big difference to your carbon footprint as a driver. Along with that, when you drive less you are using less fuel, which in turn will help you save money over time.

Car maintenance may also be cheaper, as you are not using your car as often and therefore there is less wear and tear on the moving parts and components. Driving less can also be excellent for your physical health. If you’re not driving, then you might be cycling or walking instead, which are not only both options that are much kinder to the environment, but also great for you. In case you need to drive, pick some of the car sharing services, especially if there is an electric car rental option.

Change Your Driving Habits

Over time, most drivers pick up some bad habits after being on the road for some time. Whether you rest your foot on the clutch when you don’t need to, or only ever drive with one hand on the steering wheel, go over the speed limit on the motorway sometimes or ride your clutch while you’re waiting for the traffic lights to turn to green, most drivers have something that’s not great.

While nobody will drive perfectly all of the time and we do all make the occasional mistake, the truth is that some driving habits can increase the emissions that are released by your car and cause you to use up more fuel. For example, harsh acceleration and braking are not only dangerous but use up a ton of fuel and cause your car to release more emissions compared to more steadily driving.

The same is true of speeding, so no matter how tempting it might be to put your foot down, it really isn’t worth it. If you want to change your driving habits, you might want to consider getting telematics insurance or using an app that tracks your driving habits. Not only will you be driving in a way that is kinder to the environment, but you’ll also potentially save money on insurance costs.

Car Share

If you have more than one car at home, then it might be worth considering if you really need multiple vehicles. This might especially be the case if one or more of your household has started working from home more often in the past few years. Or, if you live with a partner and have hybrid work schedules, then it might be worth considering if you can go in on alternate days and share the car, so there’s no need to have a car each. While sharing a car with your spouse or members of your family might not always be as convenient as having your own car, it can be a better option when it comes to being kinder to the environment, especially if you are not able to upgrade to an electric vehicle just yet. If you need to have more than one car, then you can cut down on pollution and emissions by sharing cars or going in the same car to places as much as possible.

Car Pooling

Another way to reduce your impact on the environment as a driver is to carpool. If you live close by to co-workers, for example, then you might want to consider getting into a routine where you take turns picking people up and driving to work, if you all start at the same time. Not only is it more social for your commute, but it’s a great way to get more cars off the road and can help everybody save money on both petrol and insurance. Bear in mind that you’re not able to take money for rides if you don’t have taxi insurance, but there are loopholes, such as everybody paying an equal amount to cover the cost of fuel.

Public Transport

While most people are glad to see the back of public transport once they start driving, there’s no denying that it can be kinder to the environment than cars. This is especially true in London, where there is now the largest fleet of electric buses in Europe. Trains are also becoming kinder and kinder to the environment, with lots of work being done to reduce their emissions, and electric trains and trams becoming more commonplace. If you often travel to places that are on good public transport routes, then it might be worth considering leaving the car at home. Getting public transport can also be an easier option if you live or work in a big city, and there’s no need to worry about parking, either, making it overall less stressful and in many cases, cheaper than taking the car.

If you are a driver and are concerned about the impact that you are having on the environment behind the wheel, then these are some of the main things that you can do to reduce your carbon footprint.

Jasper has been an enthusiast of the automotive and IT industries since the age of 16. He independently writes on the auto industry's recent happenings.