Going Green in the Car, on the Road?
These days, climate change is a hot topic and everyone (well, everyone awesome) is looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and lead a greener lifestyle.
As driving is a major contributor to greenhouse gases, it’s an ideal place to start making positive changes. So, what are some cheap, easy ways to make your driving habits greener?
Make Your Vehicle More Efficient
I’m not talking about running out and buying a new Prius, though that’s not a bad idea. It turns out there are quite a few things you can do to make your existing vehicle more efficient.
First, make sure your tires are properly inflated. This is easy to do. If you’re not sure what the correct pressure is, take a look at the sidewall. It should have a PSI (pounds per square inch) rating on the side. Stop by a gas station that has an air pump. Most will have a pressure gauge attached to the nozzle so you’ll know when you’ve reached the proper pressure.
There may be things you can do to lower your vehicle’s weight or improve its aerodynamics, which will also improve its efficiency. If you’re still driving around with all of your camping gear from that trip 3 months ago, you’re decreasing your vehicle’s efficiency. Ditto for that kayak rack.
In addition, you can make your vehicle more efficient by changing the way you drive. Unless you’re racing for pink slips, there’s really no need to floor it at every green light, or to skid to a stop at every red. Who are you trying to impress? Take it easy, Turbo. Try coasting to a stop and accelerating more slowly (within reason, don’t make people want to shoot you) and you’ll see your fuel economy improve quite nicely.
Share the Burden When You Drive
Chances are good that at least some of your co-workers live in your area. Ask around, and see if you can start carpooling with some of them. If you find 3 other people to share rides with, you’ve just cut your driving greenhouse emissions (commuting expenses) by almost 75%.
True, you might have to listen to terrible music a few times a week, but you’ll be breezing past all the suckers who don’t get to use the carpool lane, and you might even make some new friends.
Another way in which sharing a vehicle can benefit the environment (and your wallet) is if you sign up for a car-sharing service. If you live in a city, there’s probably one near you.
How Car-Sharing Services Work
The service owns the cars. They pay for the business automobile insurance and the maintenance. You join the service, and rent a car whenever you need one. If you drive a lot, you can typically pay a little extra every month to buy down your hourly rate, although plans vary by company.
While car-sharing services do take a little bit of planning ahead, they have plenty of great benefits. You’ll tend to drive less, the environmental impact of sharing a car is much less than owning, and you can forget about those surprise nightmare mechanic’s bills.
Drive Less to Be More Green
I’m not joking. This really is a great way to make driving more green. If you’re just going to the corner store, walk. Start riding your bike to work. If you live in a city that has decent bike lanes and you live within 5-6 miles of work, it probably won’t take you much longer than driving, especially when you factor in traffic and parking. It will also fatten your wallet, and make you feel better and look sexier.
Also, think about taking mass transit. It’s like carpooling x 30, + strangers. And, you can wear headphones, because strangers won’t consider it rude, unlike your carpooling buddies.
Links to Other Helpful Articles on Going Green While Driving
[Photo Credit: The Telegraph UK; archive.mensjournal]