this campervan at the sea is not a very green car but

Green Cars and How to Help the Planet


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Green cars are becoming more important to car buyers and owners these days. The introduction of electric cars into the market has undoubtedly helped, as well as general consumer interest around the environment.

Got green guilt and want to do your bit? Us too. If you’re not able to trade your car for something with lower carbon emissions, what can you do? Good news: there are ways to go greener with the car you already own.

Here’s how some changes to driving and other habits can make you a proud green car owner. Or greener car, anyway.

What’s a green car?

There’s no standard definition of a green car. But generally speaking, it’s understood to mean a car that’s more environmentally friendly than an average car. Hybrid and electric cars mean fewer emissions, which is kinder to the planet. Find out more about zero emission vehicles in Australia by reading our article Zero Emission Vehicles: Where Are We At?

Certain “regular” cars far outperform the standards set out by the Australian government for vehicle emissions. To some people, these might also be considered green cars.

Lower emissions and a better planet definitely sound like good car goals to have! And if you’re going the whole hog, you can opt for an electric or hybrid car, or using biofuel. Biofuel is scarce though (or at least until a car powered by whiskey is a common thing!) and hybrid cars can be expensive. Plus, not everybody can go for a new car just because it’s greener.

So, what’s a person to do?

Green cars and fossil fuels

There are lots of ways you make a difference to the environment with your standard, fossil-fueled car.

But first, some background on what fossil fuels are, and how they work. The oil and petrol or diesel we use to power our vehicles release carbon in the form of exhaust fumes. In the atmosphere, carbon traps the sun’s UV rays. This warms the air, the ocean and the earth. Sounding familiar yet?

The warmer the atmosphere, the more unpredictable the weather patterns. This is commonly called climate change or global warming. As you may know, this can have severe knock on effects like drought, crop failure, and natural disasters such as floods.

Scary, right?

this is an electric car being charged. Electric cars are very green cars with no emissions

Going greener with your car

Want to know how to reduce your carbon contribution but still be able to hit the roads safely?

Here are a few ways to drive with a lower environmental impact:

  • Don’t overfill your fuel tank. If you always fill up a little bit past the bowser’s click-off point to stretch out your petrol station visits, stop! This can force fuel into the emissions canister which is there to reduce the amount of crude fumes escaping into the air.
  • Carpooling saves petrol and cash. Win-win, we reckon. But it also takes other cars off the road. Travelling with friends and family is, arguably, the best way to travel. And it’ll help reduce the environmental load on the planet.
  • Inflate the tyres properly. Under-inflated tyres aren’t as efficient, which means your engine works harder. And we know what that means. More fuel. Here’s more on why getting your car tyre pressure right is important.
  • Make sure your car is serviced regularly. Keeping your car running optimally means you’ll get better fuel economy. And keeping your car well maintained is never a bad thing, anyway.  
  • Turn the air conditioning off. Not too difficult in autumn and winter. But admittedly, a bit harder in our warm summers. Aircon makes your engine work pretty hard and increases your fuel consumption. So, turn it off when you can. When you need it in the heat of summer, try to keep it at room temperature instead of ice cold.  
  • Go to the carwash. Instead of going for the good old hosepipe and sponge look for a professional car wash service. On the surface it might seem like a bad choice, but it’s usually greener. These businesses optimise their use of resources not just for the environment, but for their bottom line too. Going greener with your car is not only about using less fuel. It’s also about using less water, less electricity, and other resources. Try to find a business that uses water sparingly and makes use of certified environmentally friendly polishes, detergents, and powders.

Your driving makes a difference too

If you want to make a difference to the environment, change your driving habits. Always racing away when the light goes green? Happy to idle your car when your partner is popping into the shop while you wait? Changing your driving habits can make a huge difference to your fuel economy.

It makes sense that driving with fuel efficiency top of mind would make a difference. The less fuel used, the better. Read our tips on how to improve fuel efficiency. Saving money and saving the planet? Give yourself a pat on the back.

While you’re out there making a difference to the planet, check out our detailed fuel consumption comparison. Then when you’re in the market for a new car, you’ll be well equipped to make a greener choice.

Don’t forget to protect your back pocket too

Regardless of whether you’ve a zippy city car that’s light on petrol or an old-school guzzler, car insurance can be valuable to keep your car (and your finances) protected. Having comprehensive car insurance coverage can make a big difference to your savings account when your car is in an accident or is damaged by weather, theft or malicious damage.

You’ll have great peace of mind that you won’t be left with a huge bill to pay for repairs or replacement.

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