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Motorists can Follow these 5 Simple Steps to Keep their Auto Use Eco Friendly

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People tend to be more concerned about getting the highest trade-in car value or learning how to keep their cars running smoothly for years to come

Unfortunately, the conversation rarely transitions from one of money and efficiency to one of sustainability and protecting the environment. Because of this, the vast majority of stereotypes surrounding sustainable vehicular use are shrouded in extreme measures, asking people to trade in four wheels for two.

Truth be told, however, this kind action isn’t required to make the world a cleaner place. In fact, the reality of the situation tells a completely different story. Care to listen? Though certainly small steps, below, you’ll find five tried-and-true tips for everyday motorists just like you to keep their auto use as eco-friendly as possible—no bike helmets required:

1) Avoid Idling at All Costs

The term “idling” refers to what takes place when a driver leaves the engine running, even though their car isn’t moving. The idling of your car alone isn’t enough to deplete the entirety of the earth’s ozone shield, but with over one billion cars in use all over the globe, idling quickly becomes a problem.

Because of this, when at a standstill for more than 10 seconds (unless in traffic), simply turn off your car. Why 10 seconds, you ask? Research suggests that the amount of gas used to start/stop your car is equal to the amount used when idling for only 10 seconds. Case in point? Avoid idling at all costs. Otherwise, you’ll be giving off unnecessary emissions.

2) Keep Your Car Neat and Tidy

Almost seems like too simple of a step, doesn’t it? There’s a reason for this, though—with every extra pound your car carries, it’s fuel economy takes a hit. The key culprits here are obvious: trash, boxes, tools, etc. Still, less apparent culprits exist.

For example, if you have a roof rack mounted to the top of your car year-round, consider taking it down during the seasons in which you use it less frequently. By so doing, you’ll improve the aerodynamics of your car, preventing the burning of excess fuel.

3) Automotive Maintenance Is a Must

Here’s what’s best about this tip—you don’t have to be a “gearhead” to make it happen. The environment doesn’t ask that you go above and beyond the call of duty to become a more eco-friendly driver,just that you follow through with your car’s routine maintenance schedule.

Whether it be an oil change at 5,000 miles or ensuring that the pressure in each tire is where it should be, a well-maintained car can reduce fuel consumption by three to four percent.

4) Resist the Urge to ‘Floor It’

Most of us aren’t “adrenaline junkies,” but should you be, know now that you’re not doing the environment any favors by pushing your automobile to reach new, daunting speeds.

Not only is it extremely dangerous for those with whom you share the open road, but believe it or not, petrol mileage increases drastically above 60 mph. Interestingly enough, for every five mph increment above 60 mph you push your vehicle, you pay nearly 10 cents more in fuel (USA).

5) When Possible, Car-share

This one goes without saying, but it’s by far one of the most effective ways to minimize the impact your automobile has on Mother Nature, while still getting out and about. So, if you and a friend or family member are headed the same direction, share a car.

Initially, coordinating with others might be somewhat frustrating, but once you’ve hammered out the logistics of a regularly scheduled car share, you’ll be surprised at how much greener you’re driving habits will become—and how much gas money you’ll save, too.

Wrapping Things Up

Having read through each of the above, it should be clear that becoming a more eco-friendly motorist needn’t require that you walk everywhere, dust off the bicycle in your garage or purchase an expensive, more environmentally-friendly vehicle.

However, if you are looking to purchase a car there are a number of different options available to you which you may not have considered. The Money Advice Service can provide advice on alternatives to diesel and petrol cars – why not go for an electric car or a diesel hybrid?

Simply lift where you stand, doing the best you can with the resources you have access to—in this case, no matter the make or model, that’s your car.

Economy

Will Self-Driving Cars Be Better for the Environment?

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self-driving cars for green environment
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Zapp2Photo | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/zapp2photo

Technologists, engineers, lawmakers, and the general public have been excitedly debating about the merits of self-driving cars for the past several years, as companies like Waymo and Uber race to get the first fully autonomous vehicles on the market. Largely, the concerns have been about safety and ethics; is a self-driving car really capable of eliminating the human errors responsible for the majority of vehicular accidents? And if so, who’s responsible for programming life-or-death decisions, and who’s held liable in the event of an accident?

But while these questions continue being debated, protecting people on an individual level, it’s worth posing a different question: how will self-driving cars impact the environment?

The Big Picture

The Department of Energy attempted to answer this question in clear terms, using scientific research and existing data sets to project the short-term and long-term environmental impact that self-driving vehicles could have. Its findings? The emergence of self-driving vehicles could essentially go either way; it could reduce energy consumption in transportation by as much as 90 percent, or increase it by more than 200 percent.

That’s a margin of error so wide it might as well be a total guess, but there are too many unknown variables to form a solid conclusion. There are many ways autonomous vehicles could influence our energy consumption and environmental impact, and they could go well or poorly, depending on how they’re adopted.

Driver Reduction?

One of the big selling points of autonomous vehicles is their capacity to reduce the total number of vehicles—and human drivers—on the road. If you’re able to carpool to work in a self-driving vehicle, or rely on autonomous public transportation, you’ll spend far less time, money, and energy on your own car. The convenience and efficiency of autonomous vehicles would therefore reduce the total miles driven, and significantly reduce carbon emissions.

There’s a flip side to this argument, however. If autonomous vehicles are far more convenient and less expensive than previous means of travel, it could be an incentive for people to travel more frequently, or drive to more destinations they’d otherwise avoid. In this case, the total miles driven could actually increase with the rise of self-driving cars.

As an added consideration, the increase or decrease in drivers on the road could result in more or fewer vehicle collisions, respectively—especially in the early days of autonomous vehicle adoption, when so many human drivers are still on the road. Car accident injury cases, therefore, would become far more complicated, and the roads could be temporarily less safe.

Deadheading

Deadheading is a term used in trucking and ridesharing to refer to miles driven with an empty load. Assume for a moment that there’s a fleet of self-driving vehicles available to pick people up and carry them to their destinations. It’s a convenient service, but by necessity, these vehicles will spend at least some of their time driving without passengers, whether it’s spent waiting to pick someone up or en route to their location. The increase in miles from deadheading could nullify the potential benefits of people driving fewer total miles, or add to the damage done by their increased mileage.

Make and Model of Car

Much will also depend on the types of cars equipped to be self-driving. For example, Waymo recently launched a wave of self-driving hybrid minivans, capable of getting far better mileage than a gas-only vehicle. If the majority of self-driving cars are electric or hybrids, the environmental impact will be much lower than if they’re converted from existing vehicles. Good emissions ratings are also important here.

On the other hand, the increased demand for autonomous vehicles could put more pressure on factory production, and make older cars obsolete. In that case, the gas mileage savings could be counteracted by the increased environmental impact of factory production.

The Bottom Line

Right now, there are too many unanswered questions to make a confident determination whether self-driving vehicles will help or harm the environment. Will we start driving more, or less? How will they handle dead time? What kind of models are going to be on the road?

Engineers and the general public are in complete control of how this develops in the near future. Hopefully, we’ll be able to see all the safety benefits of having autonomous vehicles on the road, but without any of the extra environmental impact to deal with.

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Environment

Road Trip! How to Choose the Greenest Vehicle for Your Growing Family

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Greenest Vehicle
Licensed Image by Shutterstock - By Mascha Tace -- https://www.shutterstock.com/g/maschatace

When you have a growing family, it often feels like you’re in this weird bubble that exists outside of mainstream society. Whereas everyone else seemingly has stability, your family dynamic is continuously in flux. Having said that, is it even possible to buy an eco-friendly vehicle that’s also practical?

What to Look for in a Green, Family-Friendly Vehicle?

As a single person or young couple without kids, it’s pretty easy to buy a green vehicle. Almost every leading car brand has eco-friendly options these days and you can pick from any number of options. The only problem is that most of these models don’t work if you have kids.

Whether it’s a Prius or Smart car, most green vehicles are impractical for large families. You need to look for options that are spacious, reliable, and comfortable – both for passengers and the driver.

5 Good Options

As you do your research and look for different opportunities, it’s good to have an open mind. Here are some of the greenest options for growing families:

1. 2014 Chrysler Town and Country

Vans are not only popular for the room and comfort they offer growing families, but they’re also becoming known for their fuel efficiency. For example, the 2014 Chrysler Town and Country – which was one of CarMax’s most popular minivans of 2017 – has Flex Fuel compatibility and front wheel drive. With standard features like these, you can’t do much better at this price point.

2. 2017 Chrysler Pacifica

If you’re looking for a newer van and are willing to spend a bit more, you can go with Chrysler’s other model, the Pacifica. One of the coolest features of the 2017 model is the hybrid drivetrain. It allows you to go up to 30 miles on electric, before the vehicle automatically switches over to the V6 gasoline engine. For short trips and errands, there’s nothing more eco-friendly in the minivan category.

3. 2018 Volkswagen Atlas

Who says you have to buy a minivan when you have a family? Sure, the sliding doors are nice, but there are plenty of other options that are both green and spacious. The new Volkswagen Atlas is a great choice. It’s one of the most fuel-efficient third-row vehicles on the market. The four-cylinder model gets an estimated 26 mpg highway.

4. 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

While a minivan or SUV is ideal – and necessary if you have more than two kids – you can get away with a roomy sedan when you still have a small family. And while there are plenty of eco-friendly options in this category, the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is arguably the biggest bang for your buck. It gets 38 mpg on the highway and is incredibly affordable.

5. 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Diesel

If money isn’t an object and you’re able to spend any amount to get a good vehicle that’s both comfortable and eco-friendly, the 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Diesel is your car. Not only does it get 28 mpg highway, but it can also be equipped with a third row of seats and a diesel engine. And did we mention that this car looks sleek?

Putting it All Together

You have a variety of options. Whether you want something new or used, would prefer an SUV or minivan, or want something cheap or luxurious, there are plenty of choices on the market. The key is to do your research, remain patient, and take your time. Don’t get too married to a particular transaction, or you’ll lose your leverage.

You’ll know when the right deal comes along, and you can make a smart choice that’s functional, cost-effective, and eco-friendly.

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