Environmental Benefits of Fuel-efficient Cars
If you’re putting in a lot of miles and you’re concerned about the impact you’re having on the
environment, then it makes sense to shop for a fuel-efficient vehicle. The further you can travel on a smaller amount of fuel, after all, the less emissive you’ll be.
Ways of going Green
Many motorists might naturally conclude that the best option, as far as efficiency and greenness is concerned, is the battery-electric vehicle. But this technology isn’t quite mature yet, and so it might not be the most environmentally-sound option for everyone.
What does matter for everyone, however, is fuel efficiency more generally. If you’re swapping a car
that averages twenty miles to the gallon for one that averages forty, then you’re doing the planet
some good – even if the car you buy is a traditional internal-combustion engine car.
What is fuel efficiency?
A fuel-efficient car is one that can travel further on the same amount of fuel. Fuel efficiency can be
influenced by a range of factors, including wind resistance, gear ratios, and the grip your tyres are
able to exert on the road beneath you.
A car’s fuel economy is typically expressed in miles to the gallon, (or MpG). The larger the number,
the better. Fuel efficiency is a related, though distinct, metric: it refers to differences in consumption
which arise even when the car is stationary.
What you consider good fuel economy will depend on the car you’re driving. Bear in mind that the
number used by the manufacturers may differ substantially from the one you experience, since they
will invariably test their cars in very controlled conditions, rather than in the real world.
A number of features have been bundled into modern cars, which collectively make it easier for
drivers to manage their consumption. These include automatic stop and start, which will prevent fuel
from being consumed while you’re sitting in traffic. The cars themselves have also changed shape,
improving downforce and grip, and allowing them to glide through the air more effectively.
Many of these technologies are mature, which means that you’ll find them even in a used Mercedes.
If reducing emissions is your concern, then the used market makes a lot of sense – since the
considerable environmental costs associated with manufacturing a car can be avoided in this way.
Potential environmental benefits
We’ve already mentioned how efficient cars, by definition, will burn less fuel. When this fuel is fossil
fuel, this means less greenhouse gas being released into the atmosphere. We should also mention
the small particulate pollution that plagues many main roads and city centres.
Fuel efficiency can also have geopolitical ramifications. If you’re driving an efficient car, then you’re
less dependent on imported goods like oil. This means you’re contributing to the nation’s energy security,
and protecting yourself against the fluctuations in international commodity markets.