The Car and the Environment - all about it
The car‘s maintenance
- Ideally you should take your car once a year to the dealership for a complete overhaul.
- It’s a good idea to check the tire pressure regularly. If the correct air pressure is maintained the tires will wear less and you save fuel.
- Another good idea is to prevent oil and dust sticking to the car by waxing it a few times a year. A clean car saves fuel as the friction from the dirt has its effects in the long run. Also see Varnish and its maintenance.
- Eco-friendly and eco-labeled cleansers for cars are available. Cleansers based on propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol are better because they are less toxic. Biological cleansers are an eco-friendly solution. There is a great selection of eco-labeled cleaners available today.
- A fan inside the garage is necessary to clear the air. This is especially useful when the car is wet to prevent rust.
A few safety measures
- It is dangerous to store items or trash inside the car, as it can get tossed about in a crash and cause great damage.
- Studded tires are not necessary except in extreme cases.
- It is advisable to remove roof racks and when you don’t need them. Racks increase air resistance and therefore fuel consumption equal to one liter per 100km.
- Drive within legal limits. A car driving at 100km/hour instead of 80km/hour burns 20% more fuel. Keep in mind if you are in such a hurry to catch the next red light that the greater part of all fuel consumption in urban driving goes into accelerating. Regarding fuel consumption, as even a speed as possible is optimum.
Do you really need a car?
If you are wondering about buying another car, consider first whether or not you really need it. Using taxis can often be the preferable choice.
Example: An extra car for the home costs around 900.000 ISK a year  in insurances, capital consumption, gas, etc. If a couple can drive each other to work, and on their way home one of them picks up the children while the other takes a taxi for 2000 ISK the example calculates like this: Most people work 220 days a year so the taxi costs about 440.000 ISK during that time. When it is necessary, it is possible to rent a car, which is quite cheap nine months of the year. Indeed you can take a lot more taxis or simply enjoy yourself somehow for the 460.000 ISK you have left.
Also it is healthy and enjoyable to walk short distances.
Environmentally friendly cars
It is, in a certain way, a paradox to talk about ‘environmentally friendly’ cars and more accurate to say ‘less environmentally harmful’ or at best ‘sustainable’ as no car can truly be said to be friendly towards the environment. In order to assess a car’s environmental impact, it is necessary to take into account its entire lifespan. This includes the gathering and transport of raw materials needed to manufacture it, energy and chemical use during its production, transporting the car, effects of driving it throughout the time it is in use, durability and finally its disposal.
The city of Reykjavik defines sustainable cars according to their fuel consumption and type of fuel. According to this, 22 cars on the Icelandic market qualify as sustainable. View a list of the cars at Bílgreinasambandið.
Hybrid cars are powered by a combination of a petrol engine and an electric motor in order to considerably reduce the emission of polluting gases in comparison with petrol powered cars of equal size. The hybrid car, Toyota Prius, was selected as the car of the year in Europe in 2005. Today over 200 such cars are in use in Iceland. Toyota claims that 90% of the car is recyclable. The hybrid car, Honda Civic, is also available in Iceland. Also available are hybrid family cars and small jeeps from Lexus.
Methane-cars are an exception in that they can safely be considered ‘environmentally friendly’ during their time of use. Firstly, its emissions are completely free of CO2 and secondly, they consume methane gas, which is an especially harmful greenhouse gas. Almost any car can be converted into one fueled by methane.
Diesel-engine cars can be convenient if they are equipped with a filter to capture hazardous fine soot particulates and PAH particles. But diesel-engine cars are still big polluters and no better than petrol-engine cars unless they are also equipped with a catalytic converter along with the aforementioned filters. Note that the filter is self-cleaning.
Other solutions such as the plug-in hybrid electric car are in development and not quite yet on the market. Then we can simply recharge the car overnight for the coming day.
Bio-diesel is new to the discussion in Iceland.
A few hydrogen-cars are in use as part of the hydrogen project. The first ethanol pump did open in 2008, but at the moment there are only 2 such cars in use in the country. The development is considerably increasing its pace.
Fortunately both producers and consumers are awakening to the importance of this issue. The goal of course should be that sustainable cars become the rule rather than the exception as they are now.
Can you manage with an electric-car?
They are usually small and driven within a small range but on the other hand they are cheap to maintain and the most environmentally friendly vehicles available today. A few such cars are in use now in the country. Note also that electric bicycles are also available.
Choose the smallest car
Don’t choose a bigger car than you need. Think about the environment and chose the smallest car you can get by on. Most people choose cars that fulfill all their needs all the time. This means that people are buying a car that is in full use 5 days of the year but in partial use 360 days. That’s just bad economics. Buy a car that suits you 360 days a year and find cheaper solutions than buying a bigger car for those 5 days.
Using the same car
Find out if you can get a lift to work with a co-worker. The more people who carpool the better for the environment and it can also be much more enjoyable.
Using telecommunications instead of the car
If you use the phone and E-mails more you‘ll be able to use the car less. Drive less by using the Internet. By using E-mails and holding distance meetings it is possible to considerably reduce traveling. Shopping in an online store is really very environmentally friendly.
Náttúran er „Bíllinn og umhverfið - allt um bílinn“, Náttúran.is: July 28, 2010 URL: http://nature.is/d/2008/03/15/billinn-og-umhverfio-allt-um-bilinn/ [Skoðað:April 25, 2019]Efni má nota eða vitna í samkvæmt almennum venjum sé heimilda getið með slóð eða fullri tilvitnun hér að ofan.
skrifað: March 15, 2008
breytt: Sept. 13, 2010