Your guide to a Greener road trip

By

Greener

·

December 19, 2022

Ready to hit the road this summer? Find out how to save fuel and the planet at the same time.

Phew! We made it to the end of another year. And after what feels like the longest time, we’re getting ready to hit the road.Us Aussies love a good summer road trip, and with the cost of air travel skyrocketing due to rising fuel costs, this summer is shaping up to be a busy one on the roads.

But, annoyingly, the fuel shortages and rising costs aren’t just affecting air travel. I’m sure the 2% of Aussies that drive an electric vehicle1 are laughing all the way to the charging station; but most of us are queuing up at the bowser watching our hard-earned holiday fund be guzzled up by the fuel tank quicker than you can say “fill ‘er up”.

And with many of us planning to drive at least a couple of hours or more to get to our favourite holiday destination, it all adds up quickly.Not just to our own hip pocket, but the planet too - with our 16 million2 non-electric vehicles pumping out massive clouds of dirty CO2 as we putter all around the country this Christmas holiday.

So what can we do about it?

Lots! And it’s easy.We can’t change the price of the petrol, but we can reduce the amount of fuel we need; saving the planet AND saving money all at the same time.Sounds too good to be true?

Read on to discover a Greener way to get to where you’re going.

Slow and steady wins the race.

Did you know, when travelling at higher speeds, reducing your speed can decrease your fuel consumption by up to 50%3. That’s twice as expensive!

Now we’re not saying you have to be driving Miss Daisy, unless of course that’s your style. But a little less pedal to the metal, and a little more enjoying the scenery, is one simple way to take a greener route to your destination.

Pump, pump it up.

No, not the music (blaring a road trip dance mix is a great way to keep spirits high, but not super effective at helping save fuel and the environment).We’re talking about your tyres.Another fun fact you may not have realised… the flatter your tyres the more fuel you’re burning. Keeping your car tyres at the recommended pressure can improve your fuel efficiency4.

Not sure how to check your tyre pressure?

If you’ve never checked the air pressure in your tyres before, don’t worry there’s no shame and no better time to start than now.Pretty much every servo in Australia has a free water and air pump station off to the side of the normal petrol bowsers. And most cars have a handy little PSI / kPa (aka air pressure measurement) cheat guide inside the driver’s door, fuel filler cap or the glove compartment5.

It looks like this.

The right amount of air in your tyres = cleaner air for everyone.And while we’re on the topic of air, winding the window up and down at the right times is another great way to save fuel and the environment.

Keep cool and carry on

That icy cold blast from your aircon might seem like a good way to stay cool right now, but depending on how fast we’re driving, the more aircon we blast the hotter the planet is getting. Of course it’s not just aircon that’s making our planet hotter, but it’s definitely contributing.You see, using our aircon actually burns more fuel. 10% more fuel6So switching the aircon off and feeling the wind blow through your hair is a good way to show the planet that you care.

But what about wind drag?

Doesn’t that use more fuel too? Great question!

The short answer, yes it can. And if you’re driving over 80km per hour, wind drag can actually use more fuel than driving with the aircon on6.Not to mention having the windows down at high speeds can seriously mess with your holiday hairdo.So the trick to staying cool, calm and clean this summer?

Keep the windows down and the AC off if you’re cruising the streets under 60km an hour, and wind them up when you speed up to save fuel (and your hairdo).

Rent an electric vehicle

Like Joey, we can’t all own the car of our dreams. But luckily we can now hire one.Yup, Teslas and other EVs are now available to rent from most major car rental companies.So you can ditch your old gas guzzler entirely and hit the road in a smarter, greener vehicle this summer [Porsche outfit not included].

Check out EVs for rent near you

Sources:
1. Carsguide - How many electric cars are there in Australia?
2. Australian Bureau of Statistics - Motor Vehicle Census
3. Monash University - Fuel Consumption
4. Tyrepower - How does tyre pressure influence your fuel economy
5. Carsguide - How to check the air in my tyres
6. Fuel Efficiency: Car Air Conditioning VS Windows Down