Driving Green: It's Not All About the Car

image: Ford FusionDo you have to drive a hybrid vehicle or electrical car to drive green?   Sure, "green" cars are cool and are sparking innovation and eco awareness, but approaching your current vehicle with a sustainability mindset can also help to save cost and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.    In fact, a recent survey finds US drivers taking steps to reduce fuel consumption.  Among the results of the survey:

  • Saving money and helping the environment are top drivers of energy-efficient purchases.
  • Almost all respondents agree on the importance of fuel-efficient vehicles (95%), followed by energy-efficient appliances (93%) and light bulbs (85%)
  • Seven of 10 respondents have changed their driving habits to save fuel. 64% percent drive less frequently, 41% have slowed down, and 10% say they draft behind larger vehicles to save fuel.
  • 32% have done research to find cheaper fuel.
  • 21% have purchased a new vehicle with improved fuel economy.
  • Based on $1,000 of discretionary income to spend on energy savings, 25% of the survey respondents would buy a vehicle with hybrid technology, with almost equal numbers choosing energy-efficient appliances or solar panels. 

It's not uncommon within our eco friendly training to be approached by those requesting resources and guidance to incorporate sustainability concepts into their daily living.  For most, this desire is sparked by a growth in eco awareness and an interest in saving money.  Transportation is an area that addresses both.  Check out the following suggestions to see how you can reduce costs, reduce emissions, and live a sustainable lifestyle.  

Increase your fuel economy

  • If you don't know, find out what mileage your current vehicle gets by visiting the EPA's Green Vehicle Guide.
  • Check out Smartcars
  • Upgrade to a hybrid
  • Learn more about biodiesel

 Maintenance:

  • Keep your tires properly inflated
  • Don't haul around unnecessary weight
  • Get a tune-up
  • Be an Eco Driver using EcoDriving Best Practices
  • Minimizing aggressive acceleration and braking
  • Don't idle your engine

Eco your car washing

  • Consider switching to a waterless car wash.
  • Wash on gravel, grass, or another permeable surface.
  • Use a water-saving hose nozzle.  Select a nozzle with an automatic shut-off valve so that water is not continuing to flow as you wash.
  • Select the right soap. Choose a biodegradable soap that is chlorine- and phosphate-free. Phosphates encourage algae bloom when they enter water and reduce oxygen levels for other aquatic species.
  • Opt for reusable towels.  Swap paper towels for re-usable microfiber towels.

Ride your Bike instead! Bike commuting improves your health: 

  • Staying in better shape will decrease your chances of getting sick. 
  • National health statistics show that when you're more active, you decrease your risk for cancer, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
  • Bicycle commuting allows you to include your workout in your daily schedule and helps to meet fitness goals.

Bike commuting improves your mood: 

  • More energy available throughout the day.
  • Improved health and happiness.
  • Regular participation in a cycling routine naturally shifts your focus to include thoughts of the weather, areas in your community to ride, road safety, and traffic.  Thereby increasing your awareness of the link between the environment and your community.

Bike commuting saves you money: 

  • Reduce car maintenance.
  • Reduce your gas bill.
  • Reduce parking costs.

Consider other transportation:

  • Mass transportation: bus/ train
  • RideShare Company for Car and Van pooling
  • Car sharing Programs like ZipCar
  • Walk

Other ideas:

  • Get rid of your call all together.  Donate it to charity Cars for Causes eco friendly training is a sustainable option. 
  • Purchase carbon offsets from Terrapass to offset your emissions

The most environmental impactful areas of our lives are those that we do by habit.  Replacing current behavior with eco friendly alternatives is a place to start.  Regarding transportation, changing what you drive and how you drive can save money and reduce carbon emissions.

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