The simple act of living in this modern society has a detrimental impact on the world around us. So, it’s especially important to take actions to counter these negative impacts. It’s about being part of the solution instead of the problem. But before we all quit our jobs and start living off the land, let’s talk about moderation.
Most of us have some sort of commute that cannot be solved with sneakers and a bicycle. As amazing as the Alternative Travel Project (ATP) movement is, the concept of ditching the car won’t work for people who live outside of major cities.
Still, all is not lost. There are ways to be environmentally friendly while still driving to work every day. Here are some ideas.
This is the most obvious idea to reduce your carbon footprint while still driving to work every day. For each person you can get into your car, you’re saving one round-trip commute. And today, it’s easier than ever. Use an app like RideShare or iCarpool to find people to share the ride with. As a bonus, you may even be able to recover some gas money for your trouble.
2. Upgrade your vehicle
While it never makes sense to buy a new vehicle for the sake of doing so, you may reduce your impact by driving a more eco-conscious car. Look for a used electric or hybrid vehicle that’s easy on gas and emissions, and then sell or donate your vehicle. The more demand there is for eco-friendly vehicles, the more manufacturers will produce them. And, you can feel good about letting go of your gas guzzler.
3. Service your vehicle
When your car goes without service for too long, its fuel efficiency will inevitably suffer. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, fixing an oxygen sensor can boost gas mileage by up to 40 percent. Regular fuel injection service can also enhance your car’s fuel economy, and this is something you can do every 15,000 miles or so (according to your car’s manual).
Fuel injection service cleans the carbon deposits that build up over time, making the car sluggish and gas hungry. If you want better fuel economy, properly service your car.
4. Inflate your tires
When your tires are properly inflated, rotated and aligned, you can enjoy gas mileage that’s up to 7 percent higher. This may not seem like a lot in terms of saving the planet, but think about what would happen if we all boosted gas mileage by 7 percent. It would certainly add up to a lot.
Many gas stations have air compressors with built-in tire gauges. This usually isn’t a free service, but it’s relatively inexpensive to check and refill air in your tires. You’ll want to check your auto manual to learn the optimal tire pressure for your vehicle. And if you want to take things a step further, purchase your air compressor and gauge to keep in your vehicle. This way, you’ll always be able to check whether your tires are properly inflated.
5. Stagger work hours
If you can avoid peak traffic times, not only will you save some sanity, but you’ll also use less fuel. Ask your boss if you can arrive early and leave early to avoid traffic. This won’t work for every type of business, but it’s worth a shot.
6. Avoid speeding
If you do get to take advantage of traffic-free times, avoid the temptation to speed. Fuel efficiency declines rapidly over 60mph, so try to stay around that mark. You’ll use less fuel, spend less money, and avoid getting a speeding ticket all at the same time.
As you can see, most of the tips outlined here are easy to implement into your daily life. And, they come with the bonus of saving money and frustration. And while we’d all be better off if we could bike to work, that’s simply not an option for most of us. These tips are the next-best thing to being environmentally friendly while still driving to work.