Going green and saving money is more important than ever, whether that’s at home, work or even on the way to work.
Blue always looks for ways it can help its customers, so has created these helpful guides and articles, which it hopes will provide both information and tips for future use.
As this naturally darker time of year, its more important than ever that other people can see you! Check that all of your lights are working and clean them regularly—if you need to use fog lights, switch them off as soon as the fog lifts, so you don’t blind other driver or obscure your brake lights.
Grip is especially necessary on icy roads and it is recommended that you have at least 3mm of tread on your tyres in winter. Be aware that it is a myth that if you let air out of your tyres it gives you more grip—this doesn’t work. Maybe consider investing in some winter or all-season tyres.
Don’t be the person driving with a tiny square of clear windscreen—make sure all snow, ice and mist is cleared before you start your journey. Double check your windscreen wipers are working and don’t leave snow on your roof as when you brake it will slide and block your view.
Before you set off, plan your route around roads that are most likely to have been gritted/cleared, allow extra time and check your fuel levels (its is recommended that you have at least a quarter of a tank in case of unexpected delays)
Along with the essentials (icescraper, de-icer and torch) think about adding the following to your car during winter; warm clothing and waterproofs, snacks, a shovel and some jump leads.
Keep your tyres pumped up to the correct pressure before you set out.
Underinflated tyres could be increasing your fuel consumption by 3%.
Keeping your speed lower will help you get further for less! Travelling at 10mph over the national speed limit will use an extra 10% of fuel. In fact, driving at a steady 50mph instead of 70mph can improve fuel economy by 20-30%.
*Drive appropriate to the speed limits of roads and weather conditions
Harsh braking and accelerating can waste up to 60% more fuel than pulling away gently.
Anticipating the road ahead, using gears efficiently and driving appropriately will help you benefit from better fuel consumption.
Regular servicing and maintenance of your vehicle will keep it in optimum condition and efficiency. Make sure you keep up with your vehicle’s MOT and service history to prolong its condition and performance.
Excess weight and drag from roof boxes and bike racks can impact fuel consumption -if they are not needed remove the items!
An extra 50kg of weight in your car will increase fuel consumption by 1-2%.
Rapid charging may seem like the best option, and it is if you are requiring a top-up mid-journey, however, rapid charges should not be used all the time. Charging your car slower overnight is much better for the health of the battery.
The optimal charge of an EV battery is between 20% and 80%. Many cars allow you to set the charger limit to 80% charge and try and keep it above 20% charged if you can.
Charging the car fully does not degrade the battery unless you were to keep it at 100% all the time. So, where possible, only charge to 100% if you really need it (i.e. for long journeys). The in-built navigation system will tell you if you can reach your destination with your current charge.
Extremes in temperatures (hot and cold) may impact the battery life if exposed for a long period of time particularly when it is charging. Fortunately, our British weather may help us here! But it’s worth bearing in mind should the UK endure a period of particularly hot or particularly cold weather!
Energy companies are required to publish details of their fuel mix, so you can check to see if the electricity you use is 100% matched with renewable energy.
Opting for a green tariff means you are helping the environment in other ways too—many firms also invest in energy projects such as wind farms.
Currently there are several green energy tariffs on the market. Originally these were only available from smaller suppliers such as Bulb and Good Energy, but in the last few years larger suppliers such as British Gas and E.ON have also started providing green tariffs.
In the UK, energy prices have risen for 13 consecutive years, due to government encouraged competition between suppliers.
As your location and energy use are factors in how much you pay it is impossible to determine exact cost, but look for companies who use renewable energy sources and carbon credits.
You can also get green energy business tariffs, just remember to shop around and compare deals.
You might even want to help reduce your office’s carbon footprint and generate your own electricity by using solar panels or wind turbines.
Can you also buy green gas? At the moment this is in its infancy—it is difficult and expensive to generate gas from renewable sources, but watch this space!
The ULEZ is an area of London where a daily fee is charged for driving the most polluting vehicles (some vehicles are exempt).
It operates 24/7 (apart from Christmas Day) and the money is re-invested into improving London’s Transport Network.
The ULEZ is enforced based on the declared emissions of the vehicle rather than the age, however:
Petrol cars that meet the ULEZ standards are generally those first registered with the DVLA after 2005 (Euro 4), although cars that meet the standards have been available since 2001.
Diesel cars that meet the standards are generally those first registered with the DVLA after September 2015 (Euro 6)
The penalty for not paying is currently £180 (reduced by 50% if paid within 14 days).
When ULEZ was first created, only 39% of vehicles met the emissions standards. Now it is 94%.
There are no barriers or toll booths, but there are clear signs so that you know when you are entering the zone.
For full details about the ULEZ, the scrappage scheme, to see if your vehicle is exempt, and more, visit the Transport for London website.