It’s Not Easy Being Green: Or Is It?

Posted on by Defensive Driving | in Defensive Driving Online

Motorists today are faced with a variety of environmental concerns as they shop for new cars and evaluate the impact of their current vehicles. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, these concerns about the environment are especially relevant considering that vehicles in the United States account for 45% of global automotive CO2 emissions, which are a major contributor to both climate change and pollution. Driving a hybrid or environmentally friendly vehicle is a great option for reducing your emissions, but don’t be left out of the green movement if you are not ready to make the switch over to these (often costly) options. There are several preventative maintenance steps that car owners (of any type of vehicle) can take to maximize the efficiency of their vehicles and minimize their footprint on the environment.

Tune Up
Keep your engine in tune by taking your car to your mechanic for regular preventative maintenance. A vehicle that is well tuned will use gasoline more efficiently and emit less toxic emissions. Cars running at optimum performance can also save you money as you will be getting better gas mileage.

Follow the Rules of the Road
Driving the speed limit is important not only for your safety and that of your fellow drivers, but this simple action can also help make your car greener. According to the US Department of Energy, speeding and rapid acceleration or braking can waste gas by lowering your gas mileage by 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent in town.

Fill your Tires
Checking the air pressure in your vehicle’s tires is an easy maintenance step that you can do at your home or local gas station that will help make your car more effective. According to the Car Care Council, almost two billion gallons of gas are wasted each year because American’s tires are not properly inflated which leads to resistance that makes the engine work harder to move the vehicle.

Chill on the Air Conditioning
Cutting back on your use of air conditioning may be unfathomable in the middle of summer, but if possible, opt for alternative means of cooling such as open windows and reflective coverings to maintain a cool environment. AC systems, especially in older cars, can deteriorate the gas mileage and increase the amount of emissions released into the air.

Check your Filters
Air filters help protect a vehicle’s engine from dirt and other outside damaging elements. Changing dirty air filters in your car will help the whole vehicle run more efficiently, which will save energy and fuel and reduce the negative impact of your vehicle on the environment.

Want to read more about saving money while keeping it green? Try Fuel Frugality: How Octane Levels Can Translate to Savings at the Pump and Hypermiling Basics.

Sources:
Environmental Defense Fund: Tallying Greenhouse Gases From Cars
http://www.edf.org/article.cfm?ContentID=5300

US Department of Energy: Driving More Efficiently
http://fueleconomy.gov/feg/driveHabits.shtml

Car Care Council: Five Ways to Celebrate Earth Day With Your Car
http://www.carcare.org/consumer-press-releases/2008/20080411

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