As 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 minutes 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!