Green Transportation: Reduce Your Car’s Carbon Footprint
Reducing your family’s reliance on your car is a great way to green your transportation. Some of the time, though, you’re probably going to rely on a car to get around. If you have a longer distance to travel, you’re packing a lot of gear, or the weather is just not cooperating (Raincouver, anyone?), walking, cycling or taking transit may be less-than-appealing. There are ways to reduce your carbon footprint when driving, though, and today we’re sharing five tips with you.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint When Driving
1. Watch Your Speed
You can reduce your fuel consumption by up to a third, which will not only reduce your carbon footprint but also save you money, by watching your speed. Do your best to accelerate slowly and smoothly, and anticipate your stops and starts so that you can maintain a steady speed. Obey the speed limit, too. The less that you lean on the gas pedal, the less gas you’ll burn, and the more the earth will thank you.
2. Keep Your Car Tuned
Making sure that your car is in good working order can also reduce your carbon footprint. Have your oil and filters changed on schedule. Make sure your oxygen sensors are working. And keep your tires inflated properly. The AirCare program is ending at the end of the year, but it will still pay to keep your vehicle tuned and working, because if you do you can increase your fuel efficiency by up to 40%, which will save money in the long run as well as being easier on the earth.
3. Combine Trips
The more that you can combine car trips, the lower your carbon footprint will be. Before you run to the store to pick up bread, stop and think about what else you might need. If you can combine that outing with a visit to the post office to mail a letter and a run through the ATM at the bank, you’re reducing the number of times you’re driving your car. It’s a simple change, but every trip you don’t take will mean less gas burned, and less carbon emitted.
4. Don’t Idle
If you’re running through a drive through, waiting in a parked car or stopped at a railway crossing, turn off your car. The amount of fuel you consume when you turn your vehicle on will be much lower than the amount of fuel you burn while idling. Modern vehicles don’t need to be warmed up in cold weather in the same way as older cars, either, so there’s no benefit. In fact, the City of Vancouver has a no-idling bylaw. It’s actually illegal to leave your vehicle running when you’re not in motion for more than three consecutive minutes, or while your car is unattended and unlocked.
5. Choose a Fuel Efficient Vehicle
If you’re in the market for a new car, look for a fuel efficient model. The federal government publishes fuel consumption ratings, which you can review before you buy a car. We all know that buying an electric vehicle or a hybrid will reduce your carbon footprint, but it’s not always practical for every family. In general, smaller is more fuel efficient, so by choosing the smallest vehicle that meets your family’s needs you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint, and saving money on gas down the road.
Amber Strocel is a writer, aspiring math teacher, suburbanite, wife and mom of two. She believes in the power of the Internet to connect people, and she believes that numbers are the poetry of the universe. You can often find her knitting, sewing, volunteering, working in her garden, and sneaking chocolate when no one's looking. She blogs at Strocel.com and shares her photos on Instagram as @AmberStrocel.