All vehicles with internal combustion engines give off emissions when they drive. You can’t avoid leaving a carbon footprint during your travels, but you can take many effective steps to reduce your emissions.
Here are seven eco-friendly tips to lower your car’s carbon footprint and make small daily contributions to the environment.
Reevaluate Your Driving Habits
Fuel efficiency should be your top priority if you want to reduce your car’s emissions. That means you need to reevaluate your driving habits and eliminate wasteful behaviors. Believe it or not, aggressive driving can lead to a 30% increase in fuel consumption on the highway and up to 40% in stop-and-go traffic.
These responsible driving habits will go a long way toward helping you conserve fuel:
- Take the most efficient route.
- Don’t let your car idle.
- Drive within the speed limit, especially on highways.
- Take it easy on the gas and brake pedals.
- Use the car’s A/C in moderation.
- Activate the cruise control function whenever possible.
- Stay up-to-date on local traffic.
Be patient with yourself as you solidify these habits. Driving can be stressful, so it’s easy to fall back on bad tendencies. Everyone idles in their driveway or blasts the A/C once in a while. The important thing is that you stay mindful of these mistakes and make small improvements every day.
Invest in Eco-Friendly Upgrades
While you’re developing those sustainable driving habits, you should also invest in some eco-friendly car upgrades. The most effective upgrade is a new set of low-profile tires that can handle any environment. They’ll probably be more expensive than your current tires, but they’ll give your car better handling and reduce fuel consumption, saving you money in the long run.
Here are some other eco-friendly upgrades that are worth your while:
- Convert your headlights to LED bulbs.
- Tint your windows to help with interior climate control.
- Replace the emissions system.
- Get a new radiator and cooling system.
- Install new air filters.
Even if you own a gas-guzzling car like a Hummer, you have ways of making your ride more sustainable. You can refinance and save up to $150 a month to put more money toward these eco-friendly upgrades.
Stay On Top of Preventative Maintenance
Preventative maintenance is crucial to minimizing your car’s carbon footprint. You need to stay on top of routine inspections and repairs. Keeping your tires properly inflated can improve your car’s fuel economy by .6% or up to 3% in some cases. Changing your oil on time and using the recommended grade will also improve your car’s efficiency by a couple of percentage points.
Don’t forget about long-term maintenance. You need to inspect the following parts based on the manufacturer’s recommendation:
- Spark plugs
- Transmission fluid
- Engine coolant
- Serpentine belt
- Shocks & struts
- Front & rear differentials
Keeping your car in good condition ensures that its miles per gallon will remain the same as long as possible. Taking care of a vehicle year-round is a big responsibility, but it’s worth the effort if you’re committed to sustainability.
Ditch the Extra Weight
Your car’s weight has a significant impact on its gas mileage. If you’re driving around with a bunch of junk in the trunk, you’re needlessly adding more stress to the engine and burning more fuel. On the flip side, reducing your car’s weight by just 20 pounds is the equivalent of a ten horsepower increase because it rides more smoothly.
Here are some things you can do to eliminate excess weight from your vehicle:
- Clear out all garbage and random items.
- Remove the back seats.
- Get rid of the spare tire and tire changing kit.
- Relocate the battery to the trunk.
- Gut the interior’s trim, carpeting and upholstery.
- Switch to lightweight carbon-fiber wheels.
- Install lightweight body panels wherever possible.
Some of these measures admittedly aren’t practical for everyone, but they can shed hundreds of pounds from your car. You should take full advantage of each one if you rarely drive with passengers and being eco-friendly is your top priority.
In case you needed a reminder, fuel efficiency is the most important thing when it comes to your car’s sustainability. That’s why you need to refuel with great care. Avoid topping off the tank and leave a little room to spare. This simple adjustment will help you avoid releasing harmful vapors and wasting gas.
You also need to double-check and make sure the fuel cap is screwed on tight. If it’s loose, pollutants like hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxide and even carbon monoxide will escape into the air. Take your time and refuel your car properly to keep your emissions down.
Use Other Transportation Methods
Sometimes the best way to lower your car’s carbon footprint is to simply avoid driving. Try to use other transportation methods whenever possible. If you can reach your destination by walking, riding a bike or taking public transportation, seize that opportunity and avoid the unnecessary drive.
Carpooling is another excellent way to slash vehicle emissions with your family, friends and co-workers. No matter your destination, carpooling is always an option. One individual doesn’t make a huge difference, but when the whole community works together, it can make a sizable contribution to the fight against climate change.
Cities across the U.S. are also providing transportation resources such as sustainable e-bikes and e-scooters for local residents. If you don’t want to drive or take public transportation, you should have no trouble finding a bike or scooter on a nearby street corner. They might even be faster than driving because you can mostly avoid stop-and-go traffic.
Stay Home to Ensure Zero Emissions
In past generations, people had to drive to get everything they needed. Today, we have the luxury of ordering food, clothes and other necessities straight from the company’s website. You should take full advantage of online shopping. Rather than driving to the supermarket, stay home and buy your groceries online to guarantee that you’re causing zero emissions.
However, you must be careful not to abuse online shopping. It’s still important to get outside, socialize with your neighbors and help the environment in other ways. The time you don’t spend driving can go toward sustainable hobbies such as gardening, cooking or cleaning up your community.
Drive for the Environment
It’d be nice if everyone had zero-emissions electric vehicles with a reliable charging infrastructure, but that won’t happen for a while. In the meantime, you can drive your vehicle with the environment in mind and practice these five essential tips.
They will help you minimize your car’s emissions and do your small part to keep our world clean.