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What is CO2 and Why Does it Matter?

The amount of C02 in our atmosphere is having a great impact on our environment, and the combustion engine is something that contributes to the rising level of emissions across the globe. But, how does car leasing fit into this and what are manufacturers doing to stem the rising levels of greenhouse gases which are driving climate change here on earth?

What is global warming?

Global warming is a problem of there being too much carbon dioxide dioxide in the atmosphere which is acting as a blanket, trapping heat and warming the planet.

What is causing global warming?

When we burn fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas for energy or burn forests to create plantations, carbon is released into the atmosphere before accumulating in the air space.

C02 emissions and car leasing

There is no real debate anymore as to whether global warming is actually happening, and it's not just a prediction anymore. We're in the midst of what scientists have been talking about for a long time now, but what proof is there that it's actually real?

  • Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are increasing
  • The hottest decade on record keeps on changing with each passing year
  • The rate of warming is unprecedented in the last 11,000 years
  • Greenland is losing ice at a worrying rate
  • The ocean is warming
  • Extreme weather is happening more regularly

What then is causing all of these things to happen? Here's a number of proven man made activities that we get upto which are seriously altering our planet.

What has car leasing got to do with C02 emission?

A study by the IPCC in 2007 showed that 13.1% of global warming emissions came from the transportation sector, only the third highest behind our energy supply (25.0%) and Industrial practices (19.4%), and with the environmental consequences which were listed above, causing issues all across the globe, what is being done by the automotive industry to change this, and can we make individual, regional, national or actions within business to halt the upward climb of C02 in the atmosphere?

What can drivers do to reduce C02 emissions?

Check your revs -Revving your engine wastes fuel so avoiding fast getaways at traffic lights and accelerating slowly when the lights turn green will mean you use less fuel.

Drive smoothly -Avoid any sharp turning and any heavy braking, this will not only save fuel but it will also reduce tyre wear and reduce accident rates. Aggressive driving increases fuel consumption and produces more C02 so try to think about your transitions between stopping and starting.

Use less air conditioning -By using your air con sparingly, you will use a lot less fuel and save yourself lots of money.

Drive away immediately when getting in the car -Just sitting there with the engine running wastes fuel and will cause engine wear. Turn it off when you're in a queue for a long period of time or if you're waiting for someone as starting a modern engine uses less fuel than you may think.

Avoid short journeys -Try and walk or take another mode of transportation if you can.

Stick to speed limits -Driving at 85 mph rather than 70 mph uses 25% more fuel and while it may be tempting to put your foot down, think about conserving your fuel and if you have it, use cruise control.

Plan your journeys -Try to take routes where you avoid congestion, roadworks or where you might get lost.

Check your tyre pressure - Try to do this regularly as under-inflated tyres are dangerous and can also increase fuel consumption by up to 3%.

If you're stuck in traffic, switch off - Cutting the engine will save fuel and stop emissions.

Choosing more C02 efficient vehicles when leasing

Every vehicle purchasing or leasing decision will have an effect on the fuel consumption and the C02 emissions for the lifetime of that particular vehicle. To help consumers choose their vehicle, ‘green' labelling has been introduced, which is similar to the energy efficiency rating that's used on electrical appliances.

Not only will the emissions of a green labelled vehicle be lower, but fuel consumption as well as company car tax will be reduced. As well as this, low-emission cars and light vans are now available on the market. Hybrid or electric cars are not the only way to achieve very low levels of C02 emissions, nearly all of the least-polluting cars on sale in the UK have conventional petrol or diesel engines.

Petrol or Diesel?

Petrol and diesel engines each have their own different effects on the environment. Every litre of diesel fuel burned will produce 2.6kg of carbon dioxide whilst petrol produces about 2.3kg of carbon dioxide per litre. If drivers spend more time making longer journeys on motorways for example, they should consider a diesel engine for its fuel efficiency and its lower C02 emissions. Petrol might be a better choice if journeys will be made in the city or around town.

It's important to make decisions on whole life costs though and not just the type of fuel as there are many things to consider before leasing or buying a new car.

Carbon friendly maintenance

Service your engine - A well-maintained engine can minimise C02 emissions, so follow the manufacturer's recommendations on servicing and information can be found in the vehicle manual. You should also talk to your leasing company who will have more information on the matter.

Keep your tyres at the right pressure - Correctly inflated tyres are safer and they last longer, and an under inflated tyre can increase C02 emissions by as much as 3%. An over inflated tyre will wear out more quickly and is also more susceptible to failing. The best time to check your tyres is when it's cool outside or in the morning when your car hasn't been driven yet.

Use the correct oil - Always use the appropriate grade of motor oil which the manufacturer has recommended, as using the incorrect type can cause unnecessary c02 emissions. Higher quality oils help your engine operate more efficiently, however you need to take care not to overfill the oil.

Keep an eye on your fuel consumption - The more you keep an eye on the amount of fuel you use, the more you're able to reduce your C02 and if you notice efficiency is decreasing, it could indicate a problem with your vehicle.

C02 emissions and car leasing

Quite clearly C02 emissions matter when it comes to cars, vans and when you're leasing a vehicle, be it a Nissan Juke contract hire, Vauxhall Corsa lease purchase or indeed BMW 5 Series business contract hire. There's a lot you can do when it comes to vehicle leasing to control your C02 emissions and that doesn't just mean the type of car you buy, the fuel it needs to run or how many miles you get per gallon; the way you drive also has a great effect on your emissions.

At LeaseCar, we're committed to not just provide Britain with top value leasing deals, and while we're proud to be the UK's favourite leasing company, we're much more than that. We look to bring car leasing to you and provide a resource on everything to do with car leasing or cars in general.

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