According to the Environmental Protection Agency, greenhouse gases from car emissions account for about 27 percent of the United States’ total greenhouse emissions. Meanwhile, a report in Environmental Science and Technology shows diesel exhaust is actually more deadly than car accidents.
New drivers may have independence on their minds over emissions. But aside from learning to drive responsibly, it’s also important to know how to hack your drive and turn it into a more eco-friendly experience. You’ll be taking responsibility for your emissions on the road while saving money on fuel and long-term wear and tear costs. Here’s how you can get started.
Change Your Driving Habits
How you drive can directly impact your carbon footprint, regardless of what type of car you drive. Accelerating smoothly, driving steadily at the speed limit and braking more efficiently could save more than CO2 each year. You’re also saving how much gas you consume and the cost to buy it.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens with 2,650 deaths for ages 16 to 19 years old in 2011. A sobering 292,000 teenagers were also treated for motor-vehicle crashes. New drivers and teenagers alike can learn to drive more responsibly and better prepare themselves for their driver’s test and navigating the road. Try a free resource like Driving-tests.org.
Go Battery Powered
Battery electric cars are generally considered the cleanest and least expensive eco-friendly cars to operate. They don’t get as much mileage out of a charge but are inexpensive to operate. Check out this comparison.
If you can’t go battery-powered just yet, power your own vehicle with the right grade of gasoline. Modern engines are usually efficient enough to handle any grade, so purchasing the premium gasoline will only impact your wallet. However, your car may not accelerate as fast, which can actually help you slow down and make your vehicle more green by expending less emissions.
Check Your Tires
Studies show the average drive could save 1.5 tons of carbon dioxide from leaking into the environment simply by keeping their tires inflated. RightPSI estimates that if every driver in the U.S. properly inflated their tires, we could save 31 billion pounds of CO2 every year. Meanwhile, 52.6 thousand acres of trees would need to be planted to offset the pollution.
Driving with properly inflated tires can also help reduce your carbon footprint in other ways. Regularly checking, rotating and balancing your tires adds less wear and tear on your car and its tires. Your existing tires could last longer simply from taking care of them.
Rethink Your Air Conditioning
Cars have become our home away from home while we sit in traffic, take road trips and run all our errands. But running all of its little luxuries — like the air conditioning, for example — can make a big impact. Instead, take the time to cool down your car ahead of time by rolling down the windows or cracking them while driving. You’ll save on fuel costs, emissions and see an impact on air-conditioning-related costs.
According to Climate Change Connect, idling produces more emissions per minute than driving does, with ten seconds using more fuel than just turning off your engine and restarting it. Even idling to warm up your vehicle on a cold winter’s day proves more toxic than driving. In fact, driving will actually cut your warm-up time in half and save on emissions.
Content courtesy of SocialMonsters. Feature image courtesy of Philip Odegard.