6 lesser known ways to lower your car’s environmental impact

    Besides properly maintaining your car and driving efficiently, there’s plenty you can do to make your drive a little easy on the environment.

    Published On Jun 05, 2023 02:45:00 PM


    World environment day car care tips.

    The United Nations’ World Environment Day, held on June 5, is meant to remind us about how important it is to take care of the only habitable planet in the universe. And so, as we celebrate this day with earth-friendly activities, here are six things you can do all year round to help lower the environmental impact of your car. These tips are beyond the obvious ones that cover maintaining your car in perfect shape and driving in an efficient manner.

    1. Raise the temperature

    Most of India is a hot place and running the AC at full blast brings respite, but after the car has cooled down, consider raising the temperature by a degree or two. For example, if you generally set the temperature at 22 degrees, try 23 or 24 instead. Very often, you won’t feel that difference, plus you can always point the vents towards you for some direct airflow. Setting a higher temperature puts less load on the AC, which in turn consumes less fuel, or in the case of an EV, less electricity from the battery. And remember, electricity is energy too and deserves to be saved.

    2. Get your car on a diet

    Some of us end up carrying around a lot of junk in the boot, which only adds to the car’s overall weight, and a heavier car will consume more fuel. So get rid of the stuff in the trunk and try other lightweighting options like alloy wheels, lighter foot mats, no seat covers etc. It all adds up over time and even a few kilos saved will have a measurable impact on your yearly fuel consumption. It’s precisely why engineers get so obsessive about saving even a few grams on each component.

    3. Opt for a fuel-efficient route

    And it’s not always the shortest. A longer route (but with more steady-state cruising) can often consume less fuel due to the fact that the engine run time will be spent in a more fuel-efficient state, rather than running for a shorter time but in a higher consumption pattern. For an EV, a route with a bit of traffic can help it regenerate more energy rather than a traffic-free route that will consume more energy with the throttle open for longer. This is also why you see EVs returning better efficiency in the city and not on the highway.

    In the US and now Europe, Google Maps already has an ‘eco-friendly route’ option and this should make its way to India too. Users need to head to the settings menu and select the engine type – petrol or gas, diesel, hybrid or EV – and enable the eco-friendly suggestion option. The system has been developed with advanced machine learning models trained on the most popular engine types in a given region and authorities say it helps save energy. So consider your route with an eye on efficiency and keep an eye open for the option in Google Maps too.

    4. Public transport for mundane commutes 

    Very often, we default to a car when reliable and comfortable public transport options also exist. Consider leaving behind your car and using public transport instead wherever possible. One way to look at it is to do so especially when the drive is dreary and tedious; that way you can have some peace of mind too and instead get behind the wheel when the driving will be a pleasure.

    5. Don’t bathe as often

    Not you, but your car. Water is a precious resource that must be saved and washing your car less often is one way of doing this, especially if the car isn’t that messed up anyway. Also, whenever you’re washing your vehicle, use a bucket instead of a hose pipe; and if you opt for commercial car washes, consider the ones offering waterless options – there are many starting up around the country. Moreover, do not wash your car in a stream or river as the oils and grime will go directly into the water potentially harming the animal and plant life, besides polluting the water itself. 

    6. Ease up on the chemicals

    Who doesn’t like a clean and shiny car? But a lot of the polishes and creams contain chemicals that can be harmful to the Earth. The polish eventually runs off with a wash, for example, and then enters the ground as well as the groundwater, thus harming the environment. Polishing your car with powered tools also uses electricity, so consider doing so only when it really needs one. And opt for eco-friendly polishes, there are some available today. For the same reason, opt for eco-friendly soaps when washing your car. These may not be available at your corner store, but can easily be bought online.

    Also See:

    Switch EiV22 driven: Mumbai's new electric double decker bus

    Tech Talk: How much of an old car can you salvage for new ones?

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