This post has been sponsored by ENGIE, and written by Mrs Frugal x
So – who knew there was a Clean Air Day?!
Of course, there is a ‘Day’ for everything it seems but this one caught my eye as we have been looking at our car use during June, as part of our Family Life theme. This theme has been an opportunity for us to look at quite a few different things we could change or help us re-focus on things that we’ve been meaning to do but still haven’t got around to…
We knew that we had special plans for #plasticfreejuly – you may have seen we are having a daily idea to help ourselves and others to reduce their single use plastic consumption? You can still sign up to join in and get your daily email worksheet here x
After plastic, our next biggest area to tackle here at Frugal HQ is that we have two large diesel cars – in fact to be totally up front one of them is a van. When we first went with diesel it was after being told that it was the best option for long journeys – which is mostly what we do. Mr F cycles to work, or if he’s out of the office he takes the train as much as possible. He also has to fly on occasion, but we can’t really do much about that…
When baby 4 arrived, we had a problem – our other children were ALL still in car seats which are just really big. Obviously, it’s only safe to make sure they are all using the correct seats, but it meant that we could only fit in our Zafira if we used both the seats in the boot – which in turn meant we then wouldn’t have a boot – so no double pushchair, no dog, no large amounts of shopping etc. We had a roof box, but I couldn’t reach into it and there had been a height/scraping experience already.
Essentially, until our oldest child was tall enough to go without the booster and could be wedged in between two siblings we couldn’t all make a visit to family and as we had a very poorly relative 200 miles away we needed another car. After searching online for an 8-seater car and looking at the costs we got pretty down-hearted – we finally found the perfect vehicle for us in our very own small town! After sorting a bank loan we brought Frosty home, a 9 seater van with a handbrake on the wrong side… it’s taken me a while to get used to driving such a huge vehicle, but it has been so useful for all the times we fill it up to go out and about (which is a lot).
What isn’t so great is how much we all rely on our cars and vehicles to get around, and how much air pollution that causes. I’ve teamed up with ENGIE to take a look at how each of us can reduce the impact we have on the environment in support of Clean Air Day.
You might have seen us over on Twitter talking about this, we had a poll to see how often we all used a car… you can check our account and ENGIE too x The results are quite interesting so far with over 50% of us using the car daily, you can take part yourself or check the most up to date voting here.
So… what to do about it?
Here, at The Frugal Family we are working hard to come up with ideas that save money and save the world so this is an area we can have a big impact in. Here are 5 simple ways ENGIE & Global Action Plan suggest you can reduce your emissions and support Clean Air Day.
1. Switch off the car engine when stationary, especially if stuck in a traffic jam.
2. Regularly service your car; and learn how to check the oil and water yourself.
3. Keep tyres well inflated, your car manual will give you the correct pressures and you can top up at most petrol stations for a small fee.
4. Car-share; especially if you commute into a large town or city, or are going on a long journey with spare seats. We share our planned days out for the school holidays to friends so usually have our spare four seats filled! You can register on LiftShare in the UK, remember to follow their safety guidelines x
5. Test drive + consider buying an electric car, especially if you have a regular known journey and can predict your time/distance. ENGIE offer a green fixed price plan specifically for electric vehicle drivers that offers 100% renewable energy! Learn more here.
And here are some more ideas from us!
• Walk more and research public transport options, particularly special services for local hospitals, airports etc. There is likely to be a scheme to save money by paying ‘up front’ – it will have a weird name, like the Oyster card in London and Mango in Nottingham.
• Find out how much it costs to run your vehicle by the mile/km and use that to make a judgement about each journey. Include tax, insurance, service etc – ours is 55p a mile.
• Combine journey’s as much as possible – to reduce your trips.
• Dust off, borrow or request a bike – buy a helmet and give it a go!
• Check out our Transport ideas for more suggestions x
You can get even more really innovate ideas from the Clean Air Day website here – I was so pleased to get some new ways to reduce air pollution and to breath better air that I had never really considered.
This is one part of our Family Life I really feel I can make a difference to – it will mean a few changes to some of the groups we attend further away and moving to a local one we can walk to, but the Summer really helps with using the car less and so Clean Air Day has come at a good time to remind us all the impact we can have.