Although automobiles have gotten a somewhat nasty reputation for polluting the environment, there lots of ways to drive greener and protect the environment when you drive. Not only can some environmentally conscious driving choices help reduce your carbon footprint, but they can also save you a lot of money.
Here are 8 green driving tips to protect the environment and still get everywhere you need to be.
Buy a Fuel-Efficient, Low-Emissions Vehicle
The best way to set your driving habits up for eco-friendliness is by driving a vehicle that's fuel efficient and emits the lowest amount of greenhouse gases possible. Fortunately, finding a car that meets these requirements is getting easier and more affordable each year. Head over to the EPA's Green Vehicle Guide for a starting point on your car shopping.
Drive Slower and Smarter
Not only what you drive impacts your carbon footprint, but also how you drive. You'll improve your gas mileage and emit less greenhouse gases by simply avoiding hard accelerations and slamming on the brakes. Make a habit of never idling more than 30 seconds while sitting in your car and remove heavy items and cargo racks from your vehicle when not in use.
Keep Up with Regular Maintenance
Another tip that will save you money and protect the environment in the long run is to keep up with regular vehicle maintenance. A well-maintained car will ride much smoother and more efficiently than a neglected, gas-guzzling car!
Give Renewable Fuels a Try
E85 and biodiesel are fuels made from renewable resources, such as corn. E85 is a blend that contains 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline that can be used in certain vehicles. Diesel vehicles may be able to use biodiesel blends like B5, which contains 5 percent biodiesel.
Check Your Tires Regularly
If your tires aren't properly inflated, you'll be reducing your gas mileage and emitting more pollutants into the air. Did you know that you can find the ideal tire pressure amount listed on the driver side door or on the glove compartment door? Check your tires regularly with a pressure gauge to make sure that all tires are inflated to that number.
Use the Right Kind of Oil
You might be tempted to choose the cheapest kind of oil when you take your vehicle into the shop for an oil change, but the kind of oil you put in your car affects its performance and efficiency. Flip open your auto manual to read the manufacturer's recommendations and use synthetic, environmentally-friendly motor oil in your engine when possible.
Practice Shifting Gears
If you drive a manual transmission car, shifting gears can really impact your fuel economy and eco-efficiency too. Shift smoothly when the roads and terrain require you to for the best overall results.
Walk, Bike, and Take Public Transportation
Give your vehicle an occasional break and travel by other eco-friendly means when possible. If you can walk, bike, or take public transportation to work or school just once or twice a week, you'll significantly reduce your personal greenhouse gas emissions.