May 122011

We’re all looking at ways to be greener and driving a fuel guzzler isn’t really one of them. Unfortunately, hybrids and electric cars are expensive, have limited range and many of them simply aren’t styled in a way that would make you run out and part-ex your ‘normal’ car for. With the boom of satellite navigation systems on the market now, there has been a niche up until now that is untapped, and now there are GPS Satellite Navigation systems that help you drive the ‘greenest’ route, which in many cases isn’t the shortest.

Stop-start driving is one of the worst ways to affect your fuel economy. Driving with your foot at a constant level helps keep the system in a ‘close-loop’ which means that the ECU (electronic control unit) can monitor the level of fuel and air going into the combustion chamber at a even, regulated pace, which ultimately stops the inertia-effect of the stop-start driving.

If your car is heavy, then that inertia will cause huge fuel usage when you initially pull away. Driving at a constant speed without much load on the engine is a far more fuel efficient way to travel, even if you’re going fast; hence why there is the debate against driving fast or slow and its effect on fuel economy.

C02 Emissions reduced to drive more economically

C02 Emissions reduced to drive more economically

With fuel prices monumentally high in the UK and seemingly having no future in dropping, the only way to protect your bank balance from regularly filling up with fuel is to drive more efficiently. The GPS system will detect which roads are less congested, have less speed bumps (stop-start driving again) and traffic lights. It will calculate the fastest route too, which will help fuel usage and save you some money.

Obviously, shorter journeys to the nearby shops, for example, are best walked or cycled but if needed then the GPS system will decipher the most economical way there. With more and more rules and regulations against car ownership in the UK, maybe we do have to evaluate our driving habits, whether they are simply for convenience or not.

Garmin, the well-known sat-nav manufacturer, also has a system which monitors the acceleration, braking and speed of the driver and will feed back tips on driving more smoothly or driving in a more economical way. Accelerating and lifting off the pedal regularly is one of the worst ways to drive economically, as is braking on motorways when there is no need. More driving training is needed for those who take driving lessons and if ever there was more of a time to re-evaluate long-standing drivers’ licenses, then it is now!

Not only have newer cars diluted the driving experience, but they are too easy to drive. Over-assisted brakes and lightning quick throttle responses have made them too easy to drive uneconomically. With GPS systems and car-monitoring systems available, and a little more education on driving greener or economically, then not only will people start to drive more safely but they will save themselves money in the long run.

If you have the pocket you could always buy an electric car or hybrid vehicle.

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