Let’s face it: sometimes living in modern society is at odds with environmentally-friendly goals. In a perfect world, we’d all be driving electric or hybrid vehicles, shopping hyper-locally, in order to avoid the emissions and fuel consumption associated with transporting goods long distances, and using alternative ways to get from Point A to Point B like biking, walking, or using public transportation.
But your budget might not allow a green vehicle. You probably don’t have the time or resources to bike to the market daily rather than doing a big biweekly shop at Costco. And if you have a family, that family likely has activities like sports practices or music lessons that pretty much demand a minivan. What’s an eco-conscious consumer to do?
Turns out there are plenty of small steps you can take to offset the carbon — er, wheelprint that comes with driving a vehicle. Let’s take a look!
1. Stop Letting the Car Warm Up
When you start a vehicle in advance of actually driving it, whether with a remote starter or by hand, what you are really doing is warming yourself up — not to mention wasting gas and causing more emissions. Even in the harshest winter conditions, cars don’t need more than a minute or two to “warm up” before they can be driven. In temperate months, they don’t need any time at all.
2. Wash Responsibly
Experts are divided about which method uses more water: washing your car by hand with a bucket and sponge, or driving through an automatic car wash. Whichever method you prefer, you can probably get away with washing your car less frequently. And if you do like giving ol’ Bessie a bath the old-fashioned way, be sure to use a biodegradable soap. In addition, park your car on the lawn to wash it; that way, the suds will soak into the soil instead of sluicing into a storm drain and affecting any local water sources.
3. Opt for Green Tires
Would it surprise you to learn that eco-friendly car tires exist? There are actually several ways to manufacture tires that take less of a toll on our planet’s resources. The material used in the tires, the manufacturing process itself, and how tires affect the car’s performance can all be adjusted to shrink their environmental impact.
Experts, including top Los Angeles car accident lawyers at The Barnes Firm, say that over 500 Americans die each year in tire-related automobile accidents. A further 19,000 are injured. Making sure that your tires are up to snuff, and choosing greener tires while you’re at it, is the responsible thing to do.
4. Get Better Gas Mileage
Even if you have a compact car that already gets great gas mileage, there are still ways to make your vehicle more efficient. Take a look at this checklist, and make changes wherever you can.
- Keep your tires properly inflated.
- Check air filters monthly and replace them as needed.
- Don’t carry a toolbox, bags of kitty litter or sand, or other heavy objects in the trunk.
- Cut back on heat and AC, which both require a lot of gas to run. Seat heaters are especially wasteful.
- Whenever possible, combine errands to cut down on your daily driving. Consider carpooling with friends or coworkers, not just to work but also on shopping trips. It’s good for the planet and more fun for you!
When you start to be mindful about the gas you use, chances are you will find that there is lots of room for improvement.
5. Keep Your Car as Long as Possible
Environmentally minded people already resist the lure of conspicuous consumption and planned obsolescence, opting instead to repair items when possible and to reuse or recycle them otherwise. What’s true for your toaster or your winter parka is equally applicable to your car. The longer you can keep it running, the longer you’ll keep it and its components out of the landfill.
When it is time to say goodbye, donate your car to a charitable organization to make sure it gives its entire lifespan without going to waste. Or strip it down and use its parts to create unique art!
Driving a car might not be the most environmentally responsible choice, but sometimes it is unavoidable. That said, you’ll find that maintaining good driving habits, choosing green parts and products for your car, and learning how to become less dependent on a vehicle aren’t as difficult as you may think.
Article Submitted By Community Writer