4 Green Driving Tips to Save both Money and the Environment
Green driving, properly understood, consists of operating a motor vehicle in such a way as to save fuel and, incidentally, lower pollution, including greenhouse gasses. Thus, you can save a little bit of money and at the same time help preserve the environment.
The EPA has a number of green driving tips that bear consideration.
Buy an Environmentally-Friendly Vehicle
Green driving starts even before you get behind the wheel. You should try to purchase a car that has the best fuel economy for your needs. You should certainly consider getting either a hybrid or electric car. The former has remarkable fuel economy, since it uses a battery that is kept recharged by a gas-powered engine. The latter does not use gasoline at all, but rather can be plugged in at home or at a recharging station such as are springing up in various American cities. Cars that use E85 (85 percent ethanol and 15 percent biodiesel) or biodiesel alone are also possibilities. These are renewable fuels that emit fewer greenhouse gases than regular gasoline or diesel.
Practice Green Driving Techniques
A number of driving techniques exist that helps one save both fuel and the environment. You should try to avoid sudden stops and starts. When you see a red light, a stop sign, or a traffic slowdown ahead, try slowly coasting to a stop. When it’s time to move forward, gently accelerate and not try to speed up as if you’re competing in a NASCAR race. You should also reduce idling time as much as necessary. If you have a four-wheel drive, consider switching to two-wheel mode if that feature is available and road conditions warrant it. Use your cruise control whenever possible. Observe the speed limit.
Removing weight from the vehicle is also a good green driving technique. Take out everything from the trunk or the backseat that you’re not using. If you have a roof rack and are not using it, take it off and stow it away. Every pound counts when you’re trying to save on fuel.
Stay Current on Car Maintenance
Another way to drive green is to maintain your car on a regular basis, following the schedule suggested by your dealer. Use the recommended grade of motor oil when changing the oil. Make sure that your tires are properly inflated. Keeping your engine in tune and fixing problems before they become serious can improve your vehicle’s fuel efficiency from between 4 percent and 40 percent, depending on the nature of the problem.
Consider Using Public Transportation or Use Car Sharing
One obvious method of green driving is to not drive at all. If your city has a good public transportation system, consider using it to get to and from work. Even riding the bus and/or train once or twice a week will save tons of carbon from being spewed out into the atmosphere every year.
Car sharing, or carpooling, is another green driving technique. Many companies have carpooling programs. If so, consider signing up. Even if your place of employment doesn’t have such a program, you could set up one unofficially if enough coworkers live close enough to one another. Each extra person in a car pool represents a car that has been taken off the road, which represents a considerable amount of pollutants not pumped into the atmosphere.
Green driving does not have to be an onerous or inconvenient undertaking. Indeed, most of the techniques hitherto described just fall into the category of common sense. By following green driving practices, you’ll not only save the environment, but you will also save a little bit of money. Thus, human civilization wins in general and you win personally.