We all want to do our part to be eco-friendly, but sometimes it can be difficult to switch to greener habits. Dedicating yourself to a greener lifestyle can get expensive, especially when it comes to your car. Even if you are saving money on your car by taking steps like getting affordable car insurance, you may have a hard time finding everyday ways to be eco-friendly. However, making a change with your car could make a big difference. On average, vehicles account for 51% of a typical household’s CO2 emissions reports the U.S. Department of Energy.
So what’s a driver to do? Here are some easy ways to help make your car and your driving habits a little greener.
If you’re maintaining your car, you can…
- Buy a reusable air filter. You’ll spend a little more on the filter up front, but in the long run you could save money by buying fewer filters, plus you’ll create less waste by disposing of fewer filters.
- Change the way you wash your car. To conserve or optimize water usage, the EPA recommends you take steps like using a commercial car wash, washing your car at home on gravel or grass, and using only biodegradable soaps.
- Keep your tire pressure at the correct level. If your tires’ pressure levels are too low, your engine has to work harder. Low tire pressure means lower fuel economy and less control over your car. Keeping tires properly inflated could improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3% says the fueleconomy.gov.
- Tune up your car regularly. The EPA states that properly maintaining a vehicle improves fuel efficiency, reduces your greenhouse gas emissions, and is safer. Just be sure to dispose of old materials safely!
When you travel, you can…
- Be smart about how you drive. Did you know that changing small driving habits can actually affect how much fuel you use? The USDE recommends observing the speed limit, avoiding rapid acceleration, using cruise control, avoiding carrying cargo on the roof, removing excess weight, and limiting the amount of time your car is idling.
- Carpool. You’ll save money on fuel and reduce your greenhouse gas emissions.
- Skip the car altogether! Bike or take public transportation to work, if possible.
If you are in the market for a new car, you can…
- Choose a car with a good fuel economy. The higher a car’s estimated miles-per-gallon, the lower its greenhouse gas emissions. Check out the EPA’s research to see how much money you could save over time with a more fuel-efficient vehicle.
- Consider a car that uses alternative fuel. It can save you money over time. Check out this EPA breakdown about types of vehicles that use alternative fuels.
- Choose a SmartWay-certified car or truck. Go one step further and use the SmartWay search tool to find a SmartWay car. (Each model year, the SmartWay program certifies the 20% lowest-emitting passenger vehicles based on ratings of greenhouse gas and smog.)
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