10 ways to make your car green… without paint!

gmc-envoyAs we try to be as green as possible in our daily lives, one thing we sometimes forget about is our car.  I’m a mom and I drive (gulp…) an SUV!… guilty as charged, green officer!

I admittedly love it and I’m not likely to go out and buy a new car anytime soon, but I have found steps that we can take to see that we have less impact on the environment, no matter what we drive.

Use the cruise – hitting that little button can increase your mileage by 15%, simple as that.
Plan errands – at the start of every week, plan what you need to accomplish and where you need to go.  Batch together the errands that are in the same area and get ‘er done, all in one fell swoop!
Maintain it – a well maintained vehicle actually saves gas and creates less pollution because it runs more efficiently.
Keep your tires properly inflated – this also affects fuel efficiency and emissions.
Use drive-thru car washes – it’s the only option during snowy winter months (unless you want to risk getting frozen to your driveway!) but car washes are more water efficient. If everyone took just one car wash over washing in your driveway it would save 8.7 billion gallons of water annually!
Clean out your trunk – all that extra stuff you’re carting around in the back (dear husband, this means YOU!) adds more weight and reduces your fuel efficiency.
Avoid idling – did you know this consumes more fuel than when you’re actually driving, so don’t warm your car for 15 green-car2minutes and shut it off when you can.  Skip drive-thrus… they’re an “idle nightmare”, and (contrary to belief) restarting it does NOT use more gas.
Keep speed steady and stop flooring it – this is the reason cruise control is more efficient and flooring it for just one second actually causes a burst of CO2 emissions equal to 30 minutes of normal driving.
Stay the speed limit – for every 5 mph over 60 it’s like paying 20 cents more per gallon of gas because it burns faster.
Consider telecommuting for your job once a week – if it’s possible and you never asked your employer, consider it… they may say yes!  Other option, carpool with a local work pal.

If you’re looking for a new car, the EPA offers a guide to the best car choices to meet your needs.  But in the meanwhile, just use the tips above to make your car greener… and don’t worry about the green paint… no one needs to look like they’re driving a brussel sprout!

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"Going green" has always been a part of my daily life. It began, as a little girl, when I helped my mom gather the recyclables and deliver them to a recycling center. It continues today, as a mom myself, when I teach my own children those same responsible virtues.

There are so many more facets of going green in the modern day, and the definition of the term reaches far beyond simple recycling. But going green isn't just about installing solar panels on your rooftop... it's about all the little choices that make the biggest difference. From food choices, to cleaning your home, to saving money on your monthly utility bills and consumption; the choices are vast.

However, there is a popular misconception that "going green" will "cost you green." We're inundated with green products, eco-friendly formulas, organics and mountains of options, making it seem that going green is an investment rather than an opportunity.

Well, I'm here to help dispel that myth and actually show you all of the ways you can live green, keep your family healthy, and benefit the environment without sacrificing anything, including your money.

When you make wise choices to gain the most benefit, relieve the burden on the environment, and save money to use elsewhere, everyone wins. You've already taken the first step. You've come here for help to make it happen.

Put these tips into action, and you will soon find that you can "save green" while you "go green"!

9 thoughts on “10 ways to make your car green… without paint!

  1. Great Post. Planning errands has saved me a lot. I now make my list of all my needs and what stores I need to stop at. I hit them in a round about way that ends me at home with no back tracking. I have also found that since I stopped eating at fast food places I no longer sit in a drive through with the motor running. Guess if you had to stop at McDonalds, etc. running in would save you the most.

  2. Beth – I do the exact same thing. Most of the time I get away with one grocery store trip a week…that’s it!

    shari – That’s the best way to do it! And I was surprised to learn that idling is actually worse than driving. There was just a report on the news about utility workers leaving trucks RUNNING while they went in somewhere and had lunch, so the truck would stay warm!… are they serious?! They had one clocked at an hour and 10 minutes!!! Can you imagine all of the CO2 emissions!!!

  3. Thanks for the helpful tips. I actually use cruise control a lot because I can see a better mileage return on my prius dashboard. I have to warn my husband about idling because he just loves to warm the car before using it.

  4. Those are great tips, I know in my mid size car doing 70 or 75 down the turnpike makes a big difference in how much gas gets used up. I always use cruise control when traveling by freeway, I think it also makes the trip more relaxing.

    And Jim, empty the trunk…and take out the trash…empty the dishwasher

  5. Mom Time – yes! Idling is bad, bad, bad! :)

    Matt – well, I’m going to be on the lookout for you on the Turnpike next time, speed demon! :) Especially when you’re relaxing and “snoozing!” And yes, getting that trunk cleaned out of Jim’s car is going to be challenge… he uses it like a file cabinet!

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