Even the most environmentally friendly individual will find it difficult these days to avoid operating a motor vehicle (although it can be done). The impact of fossil fuels, however, isn’t the only factor to be considered when making your relationship with your vehicle more eco-conscious.
Available Fuel Options and Car Capacity Needed
People think of “efficient” cars as 4-cylinder, compact cars, but that is not always true. If you frequently move 5 or more people in your car, you are better off getting a slightly larger, but still fuel-efficient car, to prevent having to take multiple vehicles to your destinations. Consider the capacity you really need, and of course aim for a compact car if that works with the height of and amount of individuals you are moving.
While hybrid technology and electric cars are great options in many markets, it is important to consider what kind of electric power is available to you. If you are on a grid that is fed by hydroelectric power, for instance, you can very sustainably fuel an all-electric vehicle and that may be the best option for you. On the other hand, if you have plentiful access to E-85 or other renewable ethanol-based fuels, it is worth considering a car optimized for those fuels. Consider both your budget and the location where you live, since fueling an electric car from a coal-powered plant is less valuable than when it draws from a solar grid.
According to New York Daily News, there have been some serious advances in eco-conscious interiors of cars. Everything has been considered and incorporated into the design, from soy-based foam in seats to glass panels replacing plastic, as well as the installation of front-and-center solar panels powerful enough to fuel the navigation system. All of these features tend to come on more luxurious vehicles, but if you are attempting to be truly eco-friendly, you can afford to consider the ways in which your car will be lighter on non-renewable resources as a result.
Using a reusable air filter and cleaning it often is a great example of how proper maintenance can help you keep your car in good shape, which reduces the need for a new one, while also saving you money. A clogged air filter can decrease your fuel economy, and throwing away an air filter rather than simply cleaning it is wasteful, so making this shift makes your car more eco-friendly.
Regular tune-ups and a set of eco-friendly tires are other great ways to ensure that the many raw materials that went into your car don’t become worthless trash quickly. If you can maintain a car and use it for many years rather than switching cars frequently or having to replace large and expensive parts, your wallet and the environment will thank you.
Consider the Environmental Impact of Driving Habits
We all know that carpooling is a valuable way to decrease carbon emissions, but rarely do we invest the time needed to find reliable carpooling options. If you have a car that doesn’t have great gas mileage, you can instantly double its fuel efficiency simply by carpooling and effectively removing another car from the road. When you think about it this way, the logistics of arranging carpools can be much more urgent.
Even when driving alone, it is valuable to plan ahead so that you can do multiple errands in a single trip, since one round-trip saves the many out-and-back trips of sporadic errands. This also applies to things like grocery shopping, where multiple trips to the grocery store each week are less efficient and use more fossil fuels than saving up a good list and buying everything once every week or two.