Short car trips = extra fuel

Like most teens, mine would like me to be their personal taxi service.  Their ideal would be for me (or them) to drive them anywhere at the drop of the hat.  Despite what I’ve taught them over the years, they now frequently want to drive for short distances.

But our car is not like a taxi.  A taxi runs nearly 24 hours a day…so its engine is running hot and therefore fairly efficiently.

Our car is nearly always started from cold.  And a cold engine uses more fuel…quite a bit…maybe even 25%.   An engine generally doesn’t reach its peak operating temperature until it has travelled five kilometres…maybe 10-15 mins.  How many trips less than that do you do, especially from a cold start?

So…another thing I’m teaching my learner driver to do is to plan each trip.  By doing several things in one trip rather than separate trips to do each one, we save both time and fuel.  That’s because the car will already be out and have warmed up.

Try using no fuel!

And then there’s the ultimate fuel-saver I teach my children – and practise myself (often to their embarrassment/frustration!) : completely avoiding short vehicle trips by walking or cycling.

Instead of creating greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, using ‘active transport’ helps us get healthy exercise…which has massive benefits for sustaining us as individuals. (BTW, it takes 20 minutes of sustained exercise before we have any lasting effect on our cardiovascular system ;))

You might be surprised how far you can go in a short period of time.

A moderately brisk paced walk can get you about 1 km in 10-15 minutes!  How far can you get in a quarter of an hour? Try it today!

Is the car really more convenient?

Just consider how long it really takes you to travel a short distance by car…including the route you have to take, traffic hold-ups, finding a car space (and maybe queuing to pay for it ;)) and walking from your car to your destination.

To get to one place I worked, it took about 15 minutes regardless of whether I rode my bike, caught a bus or drove…but then I had to find a car park and get from there to my workplace, whereas the bike and bus pretty well provided me with a door-to-door service.

If you don’t already do so, keep a record your fuel consumption. What is the real fuel efficiency of your car?

See what a difference changing your driving attitude – and leaving the car at home for short trips – makes.

I’d love to hear your results – post them in the Reply box below.

Till next time…be gentle to yourself and our world!