Some easy ways to cut car pollution and save money

Dr. Gary Robertshaw

Air pollution caused by cars has received much attention recently, with some studies suggesting that it can reduce lifespan by years and particularly affecting the young and old. The most harmful vehicle pollutants include hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxide, which combine to form smog; particulate matter, which is harmful to lungs; and carbon monoxide. The carbon dioxide which is produced also contributes greatly to the greenhouse effect and climate change.

However, it doesn’t need to be like this! It always frustrates us when over-complicated solutions are put forward when in reality there are a few, simple steps that would have a dramatic impact on vehicle emissions. Eco driving also have several spin-off benefits including cost savings from lower car insurance and reduced fuel costs as well as better health and a cleaner environment.

Firstly, it’s staggering to note that nearly a quarter of all car trips are under two miles! In other words, traffic volumes could be reduced by a quarter if all short journeys were from walking or cycling. Further, many car journeys are just one mile, which would normally take around 20 minutes to walk. Walking your one-mile trips could save you over hundreds of pounds each year in fuel whilst being good for your heart and lungs, helping to burn calories and create a healthier active life.

Secondly, consider car sharing. This is an easy way of cutting your fuel bill in half, reducing wear and tear on your car and overall mileage, and of course reducing your carbon footprint.

Thirdly, switch to a smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicle, use a bike or public transport. The savings on road tax, fuel and running costs can be considerable.

In combination, cutting down on using your car for short journeys, car sharing and switching to a smaller, more efficient car can substantially reduce air pollution and traffic congestion. The fuel cost savings can be significant too, as well as savings on car insurance – look for green insurance companies who offer discounts for the above.

All this may sound self evident but it’s very often overlooked and the difference could be profound if a majority of people followed these simple steps. Cost savings, cleaner air, fewer accidents and better health.