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Your Car

Cars are getting cleaner and more efficient, however due the increase in car usage they are still seen as a key contributor to climate change due to the CO2 emissions. Modifying your driving behaviour and/or choosing a car with a lower CO2 emission can help in the fight against climate change.

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10 tips to reduce your car emissions

If you′re a driver then lowering emissions is something you can do simply to to help the environment. Just change the way you drive. These tips are recommended by Toyota and can save you up to 30% on your car CO2 emissions.

  1. Remove any excess weight, roof load, or trailler if you don′t need it on your journey.
  2. Plan your route and check traffic reports to avoid detours.
  3. Avoid using the car for short journeys. If it is walking distance it will likely be good for your health too.
  4. Low tyre pressure wastes energy. Check the pressure regularly.
  5. Ensure your car is serviced according to the owner′s manual. They are designed to keep the car in top service.
  6. Shift up a gear a little earlier than you normally would.
  7. Use electrical accessories onlywhen neccessarry. The biggest common abuse is the A/C. It has been reported you could get another 100 miles out of a full tank of petrol.
  8. Follow, and anticipate traffic flow. Excessive use of acceleration and braking wastes energy, and thertefore fuel.
  9. Windows should be kept close when possible. Use the built in ventilation system when possible.
  10. Switch your engine off if you anticipate waiting for more than 60 seconds.

What is a green car?

An energy efficient car will save you money, help save the world�s limited energy resources, and again help fight climate change. A car with new technology needs all the support available in terms of sales. This will allow mass production, reducing the cost of the car down. Below are comparisions between petrol, diesel, electric motor and petrol engine, electric, LPG and biofuels.

Fuel Types

Petrol

Petrol has been the worlds most popular fuel used in cars for years. Petrol engines are thought of as quiet and smooth. A petrol enined car is also thought of as having good performance and responsiveness. Petrol engines emit approximately 10% more CO2 than diesel. However petrol cars pump out less toxic emissions than diesel, e.g. Sulphur.

Diesel

Diesel engines have a better mpg/km/h than petrol engines, emitting less CO2. Direct injection diesel engines yield the best fuel economy, diesels emit more particulates than petrol � but diesel engines with a particulate trap help prevent emissions of sooty particulates.

Diesel is generally more expensive than petrol, this is purely due to supply and demand. There are far more petrol producing refineries than of diesel. It is not possible to simply turn off the petrol and turn on diesel in a refinery due to different processes of production.

Pros and Cons of LPG.

Cheaper price?

Governments tend to give LPG a ′Duty Break′ therefore retails at almost 50% the price of petrol and diesel. However, remember slightly worse fuel consumption, overall LPG vehicles fuel economy is 30%-40% less than their petrol equivalents.

Less CO2 emissions

LPG gives a 10-15% carbon dioxide reduction in comparison to petrol, and it produces similar CO2 emissions to diesel.

Fewer other emissions

LPG also delivers 80% lower nitrous oxide emissions than diesel and produces zero particulate emissions.

Better for your engine

LPG�s simple chemical structure makes it clean burning, and, as its gaseous form, it burns more efficiently than petrol or diesel. Fewer deposits build up in the engine.

Luggage space

A small amount of available luggage space must be sacrificed to allow for the installation of the LPG tank.

Underground

LPG-powered vehicles are currently not allowed:

  • Through the UK/France Channel Tunnel.
  • To enter underground car parks.
  • Mix LPG with diesel in dual fuel in certain countries.

Unlike petrol engines, diesel engines have been seen as slow and noisy. Technology has seen some advances. Car manufacturers have designed diesel engines to be quiet, clean and with greater responsivness (i.e. Turbo Diesel).

LPG

In recent years, LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) has been a fuel option worldwide. LPG produces fewer emissions than both petrol and diesel but fuel economy suffers. It is possible to convert many existing cars to be fuelled by LPG. Some manufacturers have had new cars in their range that are dual fuel, (run primarily on LPG with petrol back up.) LPG, and natural gas in less ecomonical cars has been attractive due to its cheaper cost. Although there are some improvements in emissions over petrol and diesel, LPG is still derived from a fossil fuel and therefore still releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Battery-Electric cars

Electric cars use a battery and electric motor to power the vehicle, therefore have zero emissions (whilst in use). Battery capacity means the range between recharges is normally limited to about 50-70 miles, realistically making them only suitable for city-based users (watch out for the Fuel Cell).

They are recharged by plugging them into an electrical socket, some local government departments and large superstores/malls are now installing recharging points in car parks and on the streets (hopefully replacing the parking meter!) . Of course, there are only truly Zero CO2 where recharging with electricity from renewable sources (windfarms) is guaranteed. Viable electric vehicles are still around the corner.


Hybrids

A Hybrid car is one which can run on two or more fuel sources. Hybrid technologies improve fuel efficiency and therefore provide considerable carbon emissions savings compared to a fossil fuel powered car. Models do cost more than conventional cars, however, running costs can be two-thirds of the equivalent fossil fuelled cars. Hybrids, bio-diesel and bio-ethanol vehicles are here now.

Petrol-Electric Hybrids

Petrol-electric hybrid cars run on a combination conventional petrol engine and electric motor powered by a battery pack. They work on the principle of an electric motor providing the power for low speeds (urban driving), and switch to petrol for higher speed driving. The batteries are recharged while driving and hybrids use regenerative braking, energy is transferred to the battery when braking. This improves energy efficiency.

Presently there are only a limited number of hybrid vehicle choices, four hybrids Toyota Prius, Honda Civic hybrid, Lexus RX400h and Lexus GS450h.

Only petrol electric hybrids are currently available, diesel-electric hybrids will achieve better fuel consumption. If you are lucky enough to live outside London, Hybrid cars exempted from the London Congestion Charge!!

Pros and Cons of Bio-diesel.

  • Cleaner than diesel: Bio-diesel reduces emissions of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and other particulates.
  • Renewable: It�s plant based, therefore what is used can be re-grown.
  • Support of local agriculture: It�s another way to support your farmer.
  • Longer engine life: Biodiesel is a natural lubricant.
  • Pleasant exhaust smell: When burned, the fuel emits a fried food or barbecue aroma.
  • Requires special handling in cold weather.
  • Slightly less energy content than diesel fuel.
  • There can be slightly higher levels oxides of nitrogen in exhaust emissions.

Bio-diesel

Bio-diesel is an alternative fuel formulated exclusively for diesel engines; it is made from vegetable oil (or animal) fats.

Bio-diesel can be mixed with petroleum diesel in any percentage, from 1 to 99, which is represented by a number following a B. For example, B5 is 5 percent biodiesel with 95 percent petroleum.

The future is looking bright for bio-diesel. Not only is it easy to find and use, newer efficient diesel cars boast excellent fuel mileage. It�s one of the easiest alternative fuels to implement into your life: simply find a bio-fuel station and pump it into the tank of any diesel vehicle.


Bio-ethanol

Bioethanol is ethanol that is derived exclusively from the fermentation of plant starches. Though ethanol can be extracted as a by-product from a chemical reaction with ethylene and other petroleum products, these sources are not considered renewable, and thus the reason for the prefix ′bio′.

E85.has started to appear as an alternative on fuel pumps all around the world. This fuel is usually domestically produced from grain or biomass.

While pure ethanol is not sold as a stand-alone fuel, it is commonly mixed with gasoline as E85: 85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gasoline. In order to take advantage of it though, you′ll need a flex-fuel vehicle (FFV). These vehicles have to be specially designed with flex characteristics to apply the unique combustion process and tolerate the corrosiveness of the alcohol in E85