5 Ways to Minimize the Environmental Impact of Driving

EnvironmentWhile we know the environmental issues related to our vehicles, we still need them as part of our everyday lives. However, there are steps you can take to minimize the environmental impact of driving. Best of all, a few of these steps will even help you save some money.

Lighten the Load

A heavier car needs more power to go forward, and therefore uses more gasoline to operate. While you can’t do anything about the actual weight of your vehicle, you can remove any unnecessary weight you’re hauling around. Bicycles, dog crates, bags of clothes, and books should all be removed so they don’t weigh down your car. Look on the outside of your vehicle as well. If you have roof racks or other items you don’t use, take them off to improve your aerodynamics.

Don’t Idle

If you’ll be idling your engine for more than 10 seconds, it’s better to turn it off than to leave it on. Idling for 10 seconds wastes more fuel than restarting the engine, and an idling car spews out the same pollutants as a running car.

Additionally, you’ll stop the release of one pound of carbon dioxide for every 10 minutes you keep your engine off. While it might not be possible to turn your engine off when you’re idling at a traffic light or in heavy traffic, if you’re waiting to pick someone up this is the perfect time to turn off your car.

Carpool

Whether you’re sharing the same morning ride with coworkers or combining errands with friends or family members, there are several ways you can carpool to save money and cut down on emissions. The average carpooler can save around $600 every month when they use a carpool to commute to work. Additionally, just by carpooling twice a week we can keep 1,600 pounds of greenhouse gases out of the air every year.

Choose an Eco-Friendly Vehicle

If you have an old vehicle that gets poor gas mileage, you might consider trading it in for a more eco-friendly vehicle. For example, the Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid can go up to 27 miles using just electric or up to 590 miles using a combination of gas and electric. Additionally, the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell is just as powerful as a vehicle with an internal combustion engine, yet it only emits water.

Change Your Driving Habits

Aggressive driving habits like speeding, accelerating quickly, and keeping your foot on the gas until you have to brake at the last minute all combine to lower your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Not only does this cause your vehicle to burn more fuel, and therefore pump more harmful emissions into the air, it also hurts your wallet because you have to fill up more often. All vehicles lose fuel economy when they travel faster than 55 miles per hour, so try to slow down and practice more eco-friendly driving habits.

Whether you’re looking to increase fuel efficiency or reduce harmful emissions, by following these tips you can help your vehicle have a smaller impact on the environment.

Image via Flickr by XPeria2Day