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Green Policies on Cars & Driving in Europe

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 28 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Green Policies On Cars & Driving In Europe

Anyone planning to drive through Europe for a lengthy period, will at some point encounter certain ‘green policy’ measures that are being implemented there. Most countries in Europe are attempting to become more environmentally friendly and their transport system is one of the main areas being targeted. Whether it’s traffic exclusion zones, car bon offsetting or more, you will find that if you want to be ‘green’ when driving, you usually can.

Generally, air quality is slowly starting to improve and this is in part due to individuals taking responsibility alongside car manufacturers and government policy makers. Cleaner burning fuels and more fuel efficient vehicles are starting to make their mark, but there are still a number of important steps you can take as a driver to ensure you’re helping protect the environment.

Rental Cars and Green Policies

If you’re planning to rent a car in Europe rather than taking your own car, you can be assured that most large rental companies are keen to show they’re environmentally friendly. Most will offer you a variety of options on your car hire that mean you can drive for long distances without worrying too much about the damage you’re doing to the environment. Some typical green policies in car hire companies are:

  • Offsetting Carbon Emissions – Many companies will offer you the chance to offset your CO2 emissions when you rent a car with them
  • Environmentally Friendly Cars – Hybrid, LPG, Flexi fuel and more options should be available from most major car hire companies
  • Low CO2 Emission Cars – Most rental companies hire out cars that have lower emissions that the European average, so try and hire one of these vehicles if you have the choice

European Commission on Low Emissions

The European Commission are extremely dedicated to improving environmental conditions and have often developed advertising campaigns to try to highlight the issue of cutting down on emissions. They have their own You Tube channel that outlines their beliefs on how everyone can cut down their consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions simply by altering a few things.

  • Keeping your tyres at the right pressure
  • Reduce your use of air con in the city
  • Anticipate the flow of traffic
  • Use the highest gear possible.

All of these tips can help you reduce your emissions by over 10 percent and save you money also. The EU are striving to ensure that every driver is aware of their emissions, however their proposal to force car manufacturers into making their vehicles more environmentally friendly hasn’t been approved yet and could still be some way off.

Large Companies and Their European Green Policy

There are a number of large manufacturers who are happy to support Europe in its drive to become an environmentally friendly area and a low emissions area also. Companies such as Toyota, who make the excellent hybrid car the ‘Prius’ have a number of environment projects underway in Europe.

  • EcoDriving Europe – Promotes an ecological and fuel efficient way of driving
  • Eco-School – Works with children in improving the environment
  • EcoMobility – Works with high school students to raise environmental awareness.

There are always choices when it comes to making a positive impact on the environment or not and when driving through Europe there is no reason why you can’t benefit from the green policies there.

Traffic Exclusion Zones and Tips for Greener Driving

Many cities in Europe have traffic exclusion zones where vehicles are only allowed into the city centre at a certain time, or may have to pay to gain access. These are there to not only cut down on congestion, but also to help with lower emissions. You should learn in advance where these zones are and be prepared to take public transport. Other than that, there are some essential tips to help reduce your fuel consumption and thus lower your CO2 emissions.

  • Remove excess weight – this will help your fuel consumption. The heavier your vehicle is, the more petrol it will need
  • Stick to the speed limit – this will lower your exhaust emissions in some circumstances
  • Try not to idle – it will use a lot of extra fuel. Choose to switch off the engine altogether

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I asked a council worker this morning if he wouldn't mind turning off his diesel van in a car park. He replied that he needed to charge his phone and couldn't turn off the engine because the battery would cut out after 5 mins and it was a feature of the van. Are the makers making vehicles now that can only charge phones with a running engine? This is ridiculous.
sk1 - 10-Nov-11 @ 4:33 PM
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