Use Less Gas With These Helpful Commuter Tips
American citizens account for 4% of the world’s population, yet we consume 25% of its oil, primarily in the form of gasoline. Given how much we drive, that should come as no surprise. Americans are commuting farther than ever before and consuming far more fuel. However, there are ways to curtail our energy consumption and bring it within reasonable limits. Here are 10 ways to go green on your commute.
- Carpool. If coworkers live nearby, or if your residence is on their way to work, try to organize a carpooling schedule. Not only will you save gas and reduce your carbon footprint, you’ll also get a welcome reprieve from driving yourself to work everyday.
- Consolidate Your Trips. Running all of your errands at once saves the short back-and-forth trips that doing them one at a time requires. Go to the grocery store on your way home from work, run to the post-office after dropping off your kids, or do all of them in one fell swoop.
- Walk, Bike, or Unicycle to Work. That last one would be impressive. It’s become common practice for many of us to drive even short distances, but breaking that inertia and getting your blood moving is a healthy, carbon-free option for getting to work. If you live less than a mile away, you’ll enjoy getting out for a regular walk and feel invigorated by the time you get to work or back home.
- Buy a Fuel-Efficient Car. If there’s no alternative to commuting by car, consider investing in a fuel-efficient model, such as a hybrid or even one of the new electric models. It’s not unheard of to get 45 miles to the gallon in a hybrid, while your old clunker is probably getting a paltry 20-25 mpg. Biodiesel cars are also a good option.
- Use Public Transportation. Meet your neighbors, read a novel, and avoid driving in traffic with your local bus or rail. Riding public transportation can be surprisingly fun if you’ve got a good book or meet someone engaging.
- Work Fewer Days. Many people are opting to work “four tens” these days (four ten hour days instead of five eight hour days). Talk to your supervisor or coworkers about negotiating a four-day-a-week schedule.
- Telecommute. The best commute is the one you don’t have to make. With e-mail and cellphones connecting us and more and more of our work being done on computers, staying at home has never been easier.
- Don’t Idle Your Engine. If you’re stuck in stopped traffic, at a drawbridge, or while a train passes, turn off your engine. You can generally leave the battery running by itself for a short time with no problem and you’ll drastically reduce unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions.
- Plan To Reduce Your Fuel Consumption. Calculate your average gas usage and then try to set reasonable goals for reducing it. Make fewer trips, go out less, telecommute, or do whatever it takes to get your mileage down.
- Slow Your Roll. Try to stay at or below 55 miles per hour. Anything above that gets much less efficient.