Everyone knows our dependence on smog-creating, fuel-eating vehicles isn’t doing the environment any favors. But if you want to do your part to help out, there are steps you can take to reduce your environmental impact.
Obviously, the most eco-friendly option would be to reduce your dependence on your vehicle: walk, bike, take public transportation, or at least carpool to your destination. But that’s easier said than done, and there are certainly situations (trips to the grocery store, for example) in which driving is tough to avoid.
First, choose the smallest vehicle that suits your needs. (And keep an eye out for other green features like great fuel economy and efficient energy usage too!) Then, try to be mindful of its use by carpooling, combining trips, and driving only when you have to. Then, when you are driving, follow these tips:
If you’re in a drive-through lineup or waiting in a parking lot, turn your vehicle off if you can. Idling wastes fuel and creates unnecessary emissions.
Perform preventative maintenance
Don’t wait until your tires are nearly flat to pump them up, or until your oil has run dry before you replace it. Performing regular preventative maintenance on your vehicle will keep it running cleanly and efficiently.
Avoid unnecessary quick acceleration and braking whenever possible. Focus on accelerating smoothly and simply taking your foot off the gas to slow down. (Of course, you have to pay plenty of attention to the road ahead in order for this to be possible.) The faster you go, the more your fuel efficiency decreases, so watch that speed limit.
Pay attention to parking
Parking in direct sunlight, especially when it’s hot out, can heat up your car’s interior incredibly quickly — meaning you’ll waste a lot of fuel trying to cool it back down again. Try to park in the shade and use a windshield sunlight reflector to keep your car cool.
Keep track and make it fun
Try resetting your trip meter every time you fill up. Keep track of how many miles to the gallon you’re getting as you implement these tips and watch yourself improve. It’s fun!