Eco-Friendly Driving: How Used Cars Can Be a Sustainable Choice

Environmental issues are extremely prescient issues, and issues which touch every aspect of our lives. As the UK continues to grapple with new regulations and incentives designed to improve our ecological standing, so too do we individuals have an opportunity to live sustainably. Arguably the most impactful area in which we can make change is with respect to driving – but how can you engage with driving in an eco-friendly manner?

The Environmental Benefits of Used Cars

While it is patently clear that used cars have a price advantage over newer models, it is also true that the used car can be inherently a greener choice – at least, in a majority of scenarios. For one, where a consumer chooses to buy a used car over a new car, they have chosen not to contribute to the new vehicle economy; lower demand for new vehicles naturally results in falling figures for production, at least extrapolated to a grand scale.

Buying a used car is also extending the life cycle of a complex machine, and one which contains its fair share of volatile and difficult-to-recycle materials. One more used car on the roads is one less on the landfill, with immediate impacts on local environments and longer-term impacts for materials recycling and scarcity.

Maximising Fuel Efficiency

Used vehicles are an excellent ball-park choice for the sustainability mission, but there is no getting around the fact that older used vehicles are far less likely to be energy-efficient as newer-designed ones. As such, it may be helpful to fold some fuel-economic practices into your used car care.

Regular maintenance is always a good thing, and especially so for used vehicles which can spring issues on a more frequent basis. Even simple maintenance tasks like keeping your tyres properly inflated can have dramatic impacts on your fuel economy, let alone more serious tasks like changing your oil.

Eco-Friendly Driving Habits

The vehicle itself isn’t the only source of preventable emissions, though. Driver decisions and habits can also make a major difference to how economically a vehicle runs. Things like idling at traffic lights, accelerating out of stops and hard-braking into corners can rack up CO2 emissions; instead consider a stable, slow and safe approach to driving, which is less taxing on the engine.

Finally, a note on how you use the car to begin with. Mindful driving can only ever be a good thing, and this includes considering whether you need to drive at all on a given day. For essential trips like a commute, you might even consider carpooling in order to maximise the usefulness of the fuel burnt.


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