We’d all love to have a state of the art eco-friendly car that doesn’t contribute so much to environmental pollution. Unfortunately, they are far from cheap and greener driving is not that simple. Like all new technologies the prices reflect the research and development costs of the manufacturers. So if you can’t just swap your gas guzzler for an award-winning Ni ssan Leaf, you’re not alone.

If the realities of your situation leave you with no alternative but using your old polluter, you don’t have to just shrug your shoulders. There’s plenty you can do in the interests of damage limitation. How you use your car is also part of the picture when it comes to environmental issues and there are sound strategies to adopt to compensate.

Keep your car in tip-top working order. That car emitting clouds of filthy, oil smoke from the tailpipe is a car that’s been poorly maintained. Regular servicing improves all-round efficiency and you’ll have to top off the oil less often. You’ll also use less gas. Simple steps like a regular service are vital for responsible, greener driving.

When servicing your vehicle don’t forget one of the most important fittings of any car: the tires. Keeping them inflated to the pressures recommended by the manufacturer means safer driving for you and your family, as well as markedly improved fuel efficiency. If you need to replace your tires, see if you can replace them with tires made in part from recycled rubber. And make sure the old ones you’re getting rid of go to be recycled themselves.

How you drive is also something to think about. The worst way to drive is by making a lot of short trips. Short trips are the least fuel efficient and most contaminating. They also shorten the life of your vehicle. With a bit of planning you may be able to do a bunch of errands in one go instead of a lot of short trips. Think carpooling when possible. Co-ordinating may be a bit of a pain when other people are involved, but it’s the green thing to do.

Other simple greener driving strategies include getting up to speed gradually and then maintaining it, as well as anticipating slowing down and decelerating rather than hitting the brakes. Getting into the right gear for your speed as soon as possible is also smart driving. Its common sense stuff, but we all get into some bad habits that pollute and only mean that we have to replace parts, or entire vehicles, sooner than we would have to if we were more careful. Buying an eco-friendly car is a grand gesture to greener driving, but the little things add up, and revisiting your driving style and habits are the next best thing.

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