Greener cars

written by Matt Freer on November 15, 2010 in Actions and Issue and Transport with one Comment

Photo by yuuka1

With darker evenings and the colder weather we are all likely to be picking up the car keys more often, so this week we are highlighting a few car-based ideas to help you explore making your car use greener.

Smarter driving

How fuel-efficient is your driving? Some simple changes to the way you drive could cut the fuel you use and save money. Known as smarter driving this involves using your gears, acceleration and powers of anticipation to adopt a more fuel-efficient driving style. The Energy Saving Trust has produced a top ten of smarter driving tips and they also provide businesses with training courses for their employees.

Share a lift

Why not lift share? Find someone else going your way, make new friends, cut your carbon emissions, and save money. Car-sharing can be used for any type of journey at any time. It can make boring solo journeys sociable and fun, and you don’t even need a car to sign up.

There are plenty of schemes that will match you safely up with potential people to share with – either as drivers or passengers, and resources that help calculate the costs, making it easier than ever to share lifts:

Liftshare.org – national website – just sign up for free, add your journeys and find someone to car-share with.

Carplus – national charity promoting responsible car use, with information on car sharing and links to local schemes

For those people in the Diocese of Oxford there are the following council area schemes: Oxfordshire Car Share | Bucks Car Share | Reading Car Share

Car clubs

We’ve mentioned car clubs before, where members get access to a fleet of cars parked in designated bays in local streets without any of the hassle or cost of ownership. There are car club schemes springing up all over the place – and if there isn’t one in your area yet, why not explore starting a community car club in your area, or offer a parking space to an existing club?

Once a member, you can book a car, online or over the phone, for periods upwards of half an hour, and you’re charged according to the length of booking and distance travelled. Members each get a smart card to open the car when they have a booking, so there’s none of the hassle of collecting a conventional hire car.

Commonwheels – a national car club operator that runs community car clubs, and has a  ‘member car scheme’, where members convert their cars into car club cars, and Commonwheels then take on the costs and hassle of maintaining the car and in return, the member gets free use of the car. In the Diocese of Oxford Commonwheels currently operate clubs in Oxford (in association with a local community Car club, Oxcar: www.oxcar.org.uk), High Wycombe and Reading.

StreetCar – a national car club operating in Brighton, Cambridge, Guildford, London, Maidstone, Oxford and Southampton.

Connect by Hertz – is a national car club, which runs the University of Reading Car Club.

For general information about car clubs, and a searchable map of clubs in your area, visit the CarPlus website.

Ever wanted to drive a neighbour’s car? Now you can.

WhipCar is a neighbour-to-neighbour car rental service, that enables you to rent the cars that are sitting idle on your street. It’s like a car club, but makes use of the cars already on your street. Useful for car owners wanting to make the most of your car when it is not being used, or would-be car users looking for a car to use.

WhipCar takes care of all the details (like insurance, screening of drivers, breakdown cover and payment) – to find out more take a look at whipcar.com.

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Thinking of buying a new car?

The Greener Car Guide from Start, helps you look for the best driving option for your lifestyle. It goes through all the key options, from hire cars to hybrids, drawing on the wisdom of climate experts, and giving you advice on what would be the best option for your pocket and the environment. The Energy Saving Trust also have a Car Buying Guide, from looking at buying a new or used car, with expert tips on how to buy cars that are better for the environment and why that matters.

top ten smarter driving tipstop ten smarter driving tips