It seems like every day we’re reminded how pollution is contributing to global warming and how vehicle emissions are a large part of the problem. Still, we continue to drive to work and school and rely on our cars to get us from place to place. While purchasing a hybrid or an electric car would greatly reduce your carbon footprint, they might not be the right fit for you or your budget. Plus, hybrids and electric vehicles come with their own set of challenges such as expensive battery replacements and finding charging stations when far from home. How can you reduce carbon emissions from a vehicle? It’s simple with our suggestions on how to drive green!
Cars and trucks release harmful carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere contributing to the global warming pollution crisis. Greenhouse gases keep heat in the atmosphere, causing temperatures to rise globally. Warmer temperatures worldwide are detrimental to natural landscapes, wildlife, farming, and sea levels. Additionally, particulates emitted such as hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide are harmful to the health of humans. Fortunately, as technology improves, and government mandates compel auto manufacturers to improve or develop new vehicles that greatly reduce damage to the atmosphere, we can help slow down and maybe even reverse global warming temperatures. Here’s how you can reduce vehicle emissions:
- Use alternate modes of transportation – Ride your bike, walk, take advantage of a rideshare program, or take public transportation at least once a week. Not only will some of these alternative options contribute to a healthier lifestyle, but you may also make a new friend and meet some like-minded people who share a desire to help prevent global warming.
- Buy a more efficient vehicle – Many modern vehicles are designed to reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency and more are planned in the future, especially since the EPA has imposed more strict fuel economy standards. Smaller engine vehicles such as 4-cylinder models are more fuel-efficient than their V6 or V8 counterparts. Additionally, some engines are already designed to use fuel more efficiently, such as diesel engines. Though diesel engines do emit nitrogen compounds and particulates, the emission of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and hydrocarbons is far less than gasoline engines.
- Use the right oil – Vehicle manufacturers have studied and perfected how engines run with certain oils. Full-Synthetic oil, for example, is used with many newer vehicles to keep up with the high demands for performance and protection against friction. By using the correct oil designed for your vehicle, your engine will perform better and run more efficiently.
- Improve your driving skills – How you drive can impact your vehicle’s emissions. Don’t hit the brakes at the last minute and when taking off, slowly accelerate instead of just “gunning it.” Instead, drive steadily and at an even pace. While on highways and other stretches of road where the speed limit is consistent, utilize your cruise control feature to maintain a constant speed. By doing so, you’ll use less fuel, thus making your car more fuel-efficient. Remove bulky and unnecessary items from your vehicle, such as a roof rack while not in use. Lastly, turn off your engine when idling. Idling cars can consume up to a half-gallon of fuel for every hour they idle. Even allowing your car to idle for ten minutes can release one pound of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere!
- Take care of your tires – Underinflated or worn tires greatly reduce your gas mileage, increase the release of harmful emissions into the atmosphere, and putting you at risk for a tire blowout–a danger to you and other drivers. Use a tire gauge to check your tire pressure on a weekly basis, adding air when necessary.
- Take one trip – Instead of spreading your appointments throughout the day with a stop or two at home in between, group your travels into one long trip by scheduling and mapping your route to avoid motoring around town, burning fuel, and releasing emissions.
- Change your schedule – Stop and go conditions call for more fuel consumption. If you have the ability to avoid traffic jams during normal rush hours, by leaving earlier or later in the day, you’ll avoid having to constantly brake and accelerate and you’ll likely avoid the stress brought on by a traffic jam.
- Keep up with routine maintenance – Your vehicle’s internal computer is made to operate in the most efficient manner possible but over time, the engine may fall out of tune and will need to be tweaked to ensure it continues to run optimally. Keep up with routine maintenance services including oil changes and major services every 30,000 miles.