PEOPLE in Carmarthenshire are being encouraged to drive more efficiently and cut their carbon emissions in a bid to tackle climate change.
Carmarthenshire County Council’s road safety team say eco driving not only improves road safety, but also reduces fuel use and emissions.
The council has recently launched a Prosiect Zero Sir Gâr campaign to raise awareness about what it is doing to tackle climate change and its efforts to become a net carbon zero authority.
The council was one of the first local authorities to declare a climate emergency and was the first local authority in Wales to publish a net zero carbon action plan.
Encouraging people to drive more eco-friendly is just one of the many ways it hopes to help the fight against climate change.
Driving more eco-efficient vehicles, including electric or hybrid vehicles is the best way to cut emissions, however drivers of other vehicles can also make a difference.
The council’s road safety team say drivers can cut their carbon footprint by planning their journeys to minimise mileage and taking simple actions like applying the parking brake and switching the engine off if the vehicle is stationary for more than a couple of minutes.
Carmarthenshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Hazel Evans, said sustainable travel also plays a big part in tackling climate change.
She said: “The first thing that you should consider is if you could reduce the number of journeys you make in your car – could you walk, cycle or take public transport instead, for example? If this is not possible and you need to use your vehicle then please bear in mind that small changes can make a huge difference to our carbon footprint. We all need to play our part.”
Here are the road safety team’s handy tips for safe eco-driving:
Plan your journey to avoid road works, congestion or losing your way and avoid busy travel times
Check tyres regularly and ensure they are inflated to the correct pressures
Remove roof boxes or racks when not needed to reduce air resistance
Don’t use your boot as a permanent storage space. Clear your vehicle of anything you don’t need to reduce the weight
Keep a safe distance from the car in front as this will help you to plan ahead
Stay within speed limits
Accelerate and brake gently. Avoid late braking
When conditions allow, use the highest gear possible without making the engine struggle
Use cruise control where appropriate
Use air conditioning sparingly
Check your fuel use regularly to make sure you are getting the most from your vehicle
When parking, always try to reverse into a parking space so you can drive out of it as manoeuvring whilst the engine is cold uses a lot of fuel
When you start the engine, don’t keep it idling to heat up the engine – this wastes fuel and should not be necessary if you drive off gently and smoothly. Scrape ice in the winter rather than leave your car idling to warm up
If your vehicle is stationary and is likely to remain so for more than a couple of minutes, you should apply the parking brake and switch off the engine to reduce emissions and noise pollution.
Many vehicles have stop/start technology – make sure it’s turned on to reduce fuel consumption and emissions
Keeping your vehicle well maintained will also reduce fuel use