photo credit: futureatlas.com/blog
The following is a guest post by Jane Simpson.
Saving the planet from the effects of car emissions does not necessarily require running out immediately and buying a new hybrid vehicle. While car manufacturers have made great strides in recent years making environmentally-friendly automobiles, they are still expensive. Not everyone has the money to spare to buy a new car just so they can do their part to limit emissions.
Fortunately, for those of us who drive an older gas-guzzling car and are trying to save money, there are some changes to our driving habits that are positive for the earth as well as the pocketbook.
Ways to Change
For decades, North Americans have enjoyed cars and the freedom that came with them. Taking long family vacations with the station wagon loaded down, or leisurely Sunday drives to nowhere in particular, became a lifestyle for many. Other times, the vehicles provided motorists a way to get to several places quickly, zipping in and out of traffic, accelerating then braking, and traveling from one end of town to another on errands. As gas prices have risen, and the detrimental effects of vehicle exhaust being released into the atmosphere have become clear, those ideals have changed. Here are some tips on how to be a greener driver and cut costs too.
Accelerating. Go easy pushing on the gas pedal when the vehicle has been stopped. Sudden acceleration is hard on the engine, making it necessary to have it serviced sooner and more often, while also using more fuel. The same goes for revving the engine.
Idling. During the winter months it is easy to start the car ahead of time and let the engine warm up and allow the defrost to clear the windows. This also wastes gas. A vehicle normally needs only about a minute to warm up in order to operate efficiently. Think of scraping the windows as a good arm exercise.
Carpool. If everybody takes their turn, carpooling is a great way to save on maintenance and fuel costs of vehicles. Check with co-workers, neighbors or friends who may have the same destination on a regular basis and see if they want to share rides.
Check the trunk. Remove any excess weight from the car. Additional weight causes the engine to have to run harder, meaning it uses more fuel
Inflation. Properly inflated tires provide several benefits. They increase gas mileage, which results in having to refuel less often, and the tires last longer, keeping them out of landfills. Don’t try to overinflate, because this can cause a safety hazard. When the winter is over, remove snow tires. The deep tread on them help with traction but are also hard on the engine.
Drive it. Motorists living in a densely populated area may want to get out of the city periodically and drive their vehicle. Stop and go traffic is hard on many car components, leading to more maintenance costs.
With governments slowly working their way to demanding cleaner running vehicles, in the meantime there is a lot the average driver can do. By adopting environmentally-friendly driving habits they not only help the planet but they also keep cash in their pocket.
Jane tries her best to live as green a lifestyle as her budget allows. She recently purchased a secondhand car and used a car loan calculator to determine her budget. She uses the tips in this post to be a more eco-friendly driver and save money on gas.