If you must drive, then you might as well do it in the most efficient way possible. If our goal as aspiring environmentalist is to be conscious of the way our lives effect the planet and stop the tide of climate change, then it is up to us to adjust our lifestyles to make a dent in our own carbon footprint. “Be the change” is a good slogan because we may not be in control of all the external factors in our lives but we can control the way we personally live. So today’s post is about ways to drive in a more ecofriendly way.
First, studies have shown that simple driving habits alone can increase your miles per gallon (MPG) by up to 30%. This is significant because that means you are using 30% less gas and therefore 30% less fossil fuels to power your car. So what are these “habits?” I think it starts with leaving yourself plenty of time to get places. Rushed driving is the worst driving. First, we must accelerate slowly and don’t exceed the maximum speed limits. Also try to maintain a steady speed and anticipate your stops and starts so that you can make that slow smooth transition which our engines appreciate.
Keep your car well maintained. That includes replacing all your filters when the guys at JiffyLube say its time. Well, maybe the second time they say its time.
One of the most amazing facts I found in my research of this topic is about tires. If you keep your tires properly inflated, this can save 400-700 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering our atmosphere each year.
If you are in the market for a new car, make sure it’s a hybrid! Until the corruption in the oil and auto industries stops, we aren’t going to have electric cars and a hybrid is your next best option. The EPA has a great Green Vehicle Guide that can be used to help you purchase the right car for you.
Next, make sure your car is as light as possible. My trunk likes to swallow up all my toys and never let them go; snowshoes, hiking boots, climbing shoes, books, and random junk. Get these things out of your car and in your garage. Remember, all the little things count. Many people like to keep a giant plastic bag full of plastic water bottles in their car. Stop that. First, use reusable water bottles. Second, if you love one-use bottles, keep them in your garage and use one at a time to increase the MPG of your vehicle.
Finally, carpool (I’ve always thought this is such an odd word). Carpooling is small scale public transportation. If you are heading somewhere where others are going, offer to give them a ride. It also serves as a great excuse to meet new people.
In 2010, in the USA alone, we consumed over 5 BILLION barrels of oil for auto consumption, emitting over 3.5 trillion pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. At these levels, it is easy to see how this could effect the climate on a global scale. This is not sustainable.