ANN CAHILL: Simple tips to cut costs and emissions

DRIVERS can cut their fuel bills by following a few guidelines that will also reduce CO2 emissions.

Closing windows and removing roof racks can cut the amount of fuel used and gas emitted by up to 10%.

Shutting off the air conditioning can reduce it by a further 5%, while soft tyres can add 4% to your fuel bill.

An EU-wide campaign to promote energy-efficient driving kicks off today with the help of 45,000 petrol stations.

They will distribute millions of leaflets, “Save more than Fuel”, with tips on how to reduce the amount of petrol or diesel their vehicle consumes, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

It is part of the drive by the EU to reach the ambitious target of cutting CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020. With transport one of the main culprits, the car industry has been asked to produce more efficient engines and 10% of fuel is to be derived from bio sources.

Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said drivers can make a huge contribution in their everyday driving habits.

“Making the energy savings in some cases will need hi-tech solutions, but in others we just need to apply some common sense,” he said.

The campaign is a joint one between the EU Commission and Europia, one of the partners in the Sustainable Energy Europe Campaign.

For more information see, www.sustenergy.org.

* Keep your car well serviced and check the oil level regularly — well maintained cars can operate more efficiently and help reduce CO2 emissions.

* Check your tyre pressure every month — under-inflated tyres can increase fuel consumption by up to 4%.

* Remove unnecessary weight from your boot or back seats — the heavier the car, the harder the engine has to work and the more fuel it consumes.

* Close your windows, especially at higher speeds, and remove empty roof racks — this will reduce wind resistance and can lower your fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 10%.

* Use air conditioning only when necessary — unnecessary use increases fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 5%.

* Start driving soon after starting the engine and turn off the engine when stationary for more than one minute.

* Drive at reasonable speeds and above all, drive smoothly, every time you accelerate or brake suddenly your engine uses more fuel.

* When accelerating, change up gears as early as possible — higher gears are more economical.


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