Approximately one-third of the pollution created in the U.S. comes from transportation. While more energy-efficient vehicles may reduce the harmful impact of pollution on environment and our health, we have a long way to go in making transportation environmentally friendly.
Our vehicles’ impact on the earth will likely never drop to zero, but there are steps to make your car operate more sustainably. Find below 13 ways to reduce your vehicle’s carbon emissions today, as well as tips for buying green, the case for electric vehicles, and how going green can even help you save on car insurance. You can also jump to our infographic to discover how to put your car’s carbon emissions in reverse.
1. Drive safely: Did you know that aggressive driving wastes gas? Going easy on your gas pedal and brakes is typically the most effective way to reduce your vehicle’s GHG emissions. Eliminating speeding, rapid acceleration, and braking can lower your gas usage by roughly 15% to 30% at highway speeds. Driving safely also helps to lower your car insurance rates.
2. Obey the speed limit: Once you hit speeds of 50 miles per hour and above, fuel economy decreases rapidly. Every 5 mph by which you exceed 50 mph adds up to an extra $.18 per gallon of gas. You can help the planet, your wallet, and your safety by slowing down on the roads.
3. Use cruise control: You can easily abide by the speed limit and save gas by utilizing your cruise control when you are on the highway. Before you turn on your cruise control settings, make sure weather conditions are good and traffic around you is steady but not heavy.
4. Purchase smarter: If you are in the market for a new vehicle, you don’t need to buy an electric vehicle or hybrid in order to get a fuel-efficient car. Avoid large SUVs, vans, and trucks if you want to still want to make an eco-friendly purchase. Vehicles that get 30 miles per gallon or higher are considered fuel-efficient.
5. Fill up wisely: When you put gas in your car, don’t top off your tank. That extra pump after the pump stops can cause harmful vapors to escape your tank and can force liquid fuel into the canister. Another way to reduce vapor emissions is to make sure your fuel cap is screwed on tight.
6. Limit AC usage: Your car’s AC doesn’t always have to be on high — although it’s important to remember that hot cars can become dangerous for vulnerable passengers such as children, the elderly, and pets. You can limit your car’s AC with products such as window tint — which can reflect up to 78% of the sun’s heat — and other DIY cooling car hacks.