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Driving at Less Fuel

Saving fuel – producing less CO2 

Eco-Driving is a smart way of driving that contributes to the reduction of fuel consumption and therefore to the reduction of the CO2 emissions that cause the greenhouse effect, as well as to reducing noise pollution and motor vehicle accidents. 

The 2001 European Climate Change Programme (ECCP) estimates that the potential avoidance ofCO2 emissions by training drivers in eco-driving would amount to at least 50 million tons of CO2 by 2010, or the equivalent of the annual CO2 emissions from 15 million vehicles.

The 12 rules of Eco-Driving for saving fuel and protecting the environment: 

1. When accelerating, change up gears as early as possible. Fuel economy is ensured by shifting up to a higher gear between 2000 and 2500 revolutions, e.g. from 2nd to 3rd, from 3rd to 4th, etc., up to the highest gear, as early as possible. 

2. Maintain a reasonable and steady speed. High speeds entail higher fuel consumption. Driving at a steady speed while using the highest possible gear, without needless accelerations, gear changes and braking, saves fuel and reduces CO2 emissions. 

3. Anticipate traffic flow. When driving, look ahead as far as possible, so as to anticipate the surrounding traffic and react suitably and on time.

4. Decelerate smoothly. When you have to slow down or to stop, decelerate smoothly by releasing the accelerator on time, leaving the car in a high gear.

5. Switch off the engine during short stops. Switch off the engine when you need to stop the vehicle for a short period of time (more than one minute), e.g. when waiting at traffic lights or when immobilized by traffic. 

6. Check the tyre pressure at least once a month. Correct tyre pressure improves fuel economy and road safety. 25% too low tyre pressure increases your fuel consumption by 2%.

7. Keep your car properly and regularly serviced. Well-serviced vehicles operate more efficiently and emit less CO2.

8. Avoid carrying unnecessary weight. The most important factor affecting a vehicle’s average fuel consumption is its weight. A medium-class car weighing 1,500 kg with an additional load of 100 kg consumes around 6.7% more fuel. 

9. Avoid the unnecessary opening of windows, installing spoilers, and remove empty roof racks. The second most important factor affecting fuel consumption is a vehicle’s aerodynamic resistance. Any additional part or accessory added to the vehicle, such as spoilers, roof racks or baggage holders, big antennas, etc., increases the vehicle’s aerodynamic resistance significantly, and therefore fuel consumption. Open windows in a car create air currents that increase aerodynamic resistance. All these lead to increased fuel consumption. At a vehicle speed of 120 km/h, a roof rack or baggage holder increases fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by at least 20%.

10. Use air-conditioning only when necessary. The air conditioning system should only be used when necessary and should not be set below 23o C. Generally speaking, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions increase by an average of 10% when using the air-conditioning system. 

11. Start driving immediately after starting the engine. In modern cars, there is no need to use the accelerator when starting the engine and you can set off without waiting for the engine to heat up.

12. Start car-pooling for work. If you can use the same car as other colleagues to get to work, you contribute to reducing fuel consumption and decongesting traffic.   

Further information on this subject is available on the European Union’s TREATISE website, www.treatise.eu.com, and at www.ecodriving.gr, www.savemorethanfuel.eu . 

CO2 calculator for travelling

Use the CO2 Calculator, www.co2calc.co.uk, to see how much CO2 is emitted when you move around using different means of transport. 

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