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.