REDUCING ENVIRONMENTAL 4WD VEHICLE IMPACT
Environmentalism and 4WDing don’t often go hand in hand. But there is no reason why they shouldn’t. 4WDers love the outdoors and nature; they should be 100% behind any attempts to preserve and protect it for future generations.
In my experience, most 4WD enthusiasts share my view. We get a bad reputation among environmentalists but we want to enjoy our hobby in the most environmentally friendly way we can. However, many aren’t sure how to reconcile their love for driving big, carbon-emitting cars, with their passion for nature. Good news, here is how you can do both.
STAY ON TOP OF 4WD VEHICLE UPKEEP
If you keep your 4WD in top working order, your impact on the environment can be severely mitigated. Keeping it well-maintained will minimise emissions issues and problems with the catalytic converter which could cause even more harmful gases to be emitted into the atmosphere.
You can keep your emission to a minimum by regularly checking and changing the oil, using the right fuel grade for your vehicle, ensuring your exhaust is not damaged and properly inflating tyres to the correct PSI.
CHOOSE AN APPROPRIATE 4WD
If you only use your 4WD for light camping trips, you don’t need a huge vehicle with an inordinate towing capacity, chassis extension and a weight limit that could transport a woolly mammoth. Get a vehicle which matches your needs and nothing more. This will give you a better fuel economy and save you money as well. Everyone’s a winner.
DON’T OVERPACK YOUR 4WD
Only carry with you what you need on your 4WD trips. The heavier your car is, the more fuel it needs to transport it to your destination. Pack for each specific trip and only bring with you what you will need. If you don’t need the roof rack, take it off. Will you need all your lights for this trip, If you aren’t going to be driving at night, take them off if you can.
KEEP YOUR CAR IN THE WARMTH WHERE POSSIBLE
Starting your vehicle in colder conditions uses more fuel. If you have the opportunity to leave your car in the warmth, either at home or on your trips, you should do it. It will result in less fuel wastage each time you start it.
BE FRUGAL WITH THE AIR CONDITIONER
You don’t have to sit there in discomfort but I have been on some trips with blokes who keep the interior of their vehicle so chilled it is like sitting in a walk-in freezer. Be frugal with the air conditioning and only use it when you need to.
ENJOY DON’T DESTROY
Modify your driving habits and techniques. Is it safe to go around that shrub, Then do so. The camping mantra of “leave no trace” still applies when you are in a 4WD.
By being a little bit more thoughtful in our practices, we can ensure the next generation of 4WDers still has access to the same natural beauty we do. 4WDing and environmentalism are not mutually exclusive, it is our collective responsibility to remember that.
Do you have any tips for better care of the environment in regards to 4WD use?