Stepping Stones to Greener Motoring

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car and plane by MSVG via flickr

Although investing in an alternative fuel vehicle is the best way to promote green motoring, if you’re not in a position to do so, there are still effective ways to practice responsible green motoring with your petrol or diesel vehicle. Being environmentally responsible is all about taking the measures you’re able to under the circumstances. With that in mind, here are a few tips to mitigate your motoring carbon footprint.

Re-refined Oil Recycling Program

In your school days you may have learnt the three R’s of recycling – reduce, reuse, recycle – and implementing a certain used oil recycling program can help you put these principles into practice for your car. The method uses re-refined oil, which is exactly what it sounds like: it is used engine oil that undergoes a re-refining process, removing contaminants. Re-refined oil comes in the form of motor oil, grease or lubricant, and transmission fluid, all of which function just as well as unused oil products. Furthermore, it also reduces waste, and helps preserve an already dwindling, non-renewable resource.

Regular Maintenance

It’s also important to follow your car maintenance schedule as outlined in your owner’s manual. A well maintained car is more fuel efficient and produces less toxic greenhouse gas, not to mention longer lasting. Even small details like maintaining the optimal tire pressure and reducing the load carried by the vehicle can make an important contribution. Maintaining your car exhaust system is also vital because it is the primary source of environmental contaminants; it emits carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, particulate matter, benzene, formaldehyde, and polycyclic hydrocarbons, which are all damaging to the earth’s atmosphere. Exhaust system maintenance can be extensive and expensive: replacing heat shields, hangers, joints, and straps all adds up. However, regular maintenance can help to prevent a larger, more expensive problem down the road, as well as the leaking of exhaust gas. While this may prove costly if you source the parts from your local garage, there are also options online that stock exhaust parts, which often work out cheaper.

Renewable Fuels

When possible, use renewable fuels like E85 or biodiesel fuel blends. Of course there is still an argument that renewable fuels aren’t necessarily very cost effective, but as technology improves we move closer and closer to more affordable renewable fuel options. These alternative fuels are made out of renewable resources, such as corn, and therefore burn with fewer harmful emissions cleaner than ordinary petrol or diesel, but command a higher price. When factoring in the cost to our environment though, and the ever diminishing resource of fossil fuels (which will only continue to increase in price as they deplete), renewable fuels are an investment in our future. We will all have to make a change eventually, so reducing your reliance on fossil fuels sooner rather than later is a smart step in the right direction.