The United States is home to more than 300 million people, and a great number of those people over the age of 16 (in most states) drive at some point during an average day. These high numbers leave a lot of potential harm for the planet riding our roads each and every day.
But there are things you can do as a driver that can help to scale back the harm you do on the road.
If you want to do something good for the planet, the EPA estimates that in 2013, transportation related emissions accounted for 27 percent of all U.S. based greenhouse gas emissions. Eco-friendly driving tips seem to be the best place to begin.
Choose Planet-Friendly Vehicles
While hybrids and electric vehicles are the sweethearts of the green driving movement, they are not the only options you can choose. Even small little Smart cars can be incredibly beneficial for people who only drive short distances within the city.
If you’re not ready to make the financial investment in hybrid or electric vehicles, or you must settle for a new-to-you, but not so new automobile, look for choices that are fuel efficient. The less fuel you burn during your daily commute, the fewer fossil fuels must be consumed in order to operate it.
Also, for those who need heavy duty trucks to get their jobs done, consider diesel trucks that can run on bio-diesel for fuel. This type of fuel is better for the planet and produces fewer tailpipe and greenhouse gas emissions than conventional gasoline, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Consider Alternate Modes of Transportation
One of the amazing things about living in the U.S. is that there are tons of opportunities to try out new transportation options. Different options exist in different parts of the country, including many of the options listed below.
Mass transit exists in most large cities as an effort to not only to ease traffic congestion coming into the cities, but also to reduce the greenhouse emissions coming from all those cars blanketing city streets during peak commute times each day.
While some people view it as a mode of transportation for people in the city who can’t afford cars, the truth of the matter is that they are used equally by those who prefer not to drive, who want to lead greener lives, and some who’d simply rather spend time that would otherwise be wasted commuting reading a book or a newspaper instead.
Mass transit exists in the form of:
In larger cities, mass transit does exactly what the communities hoped it would do. It provides transportation for people from all walks of life who are looking for alternatives to the traditional daily commute. It doesn’t hurt at all that it removes that many cars from the equation – and the carbon emissions all those people would otherwise generate.
More and more businesses are becoming savvy to the rising number of cyclists on the road. Not only is cycling good for your health, but it’s also a highly efficient and green mode of transportation. In cities where rush hours can turn interstates into periodic parking lots, bicycles can often be more efficient for getting employees to work on time.
It’s not just about employees though, customers also want to ride their bicycles and want a safe place to park them. That’s why so many businesses are beginning to install bicycle parking features in well-lit areas where customers can feel safe about leaving their bicycles will frequenting various restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues.
Moped and Motorcycles
These are becoming more widely accepted, even in business circles as modes of transportation that are not only fuel efficient and green, but also highly useful. Another benefit to relying on motorcycles and mopeds over cars comes in the form of parking. It’s far easier to park motorcycles in compact parking garage spaces than it is to fit an SUV or large sedan into them.
In a nation filled with people who want to go their own way, carpools are not the most popular commuter options, but they do have their uses among individuals who are committed to leading greener lifestyles. Not only that, but many larger cities have created special traffic lanes for carpools that allow faster movement when the other lanes are heavily congested.
Adjust Your Attitude When Driving
This is a big deal when it comes to driving clean and driving green. Aggressive driving can cost you big. Not just in tickets, but in inefficient fuel consumption and greater risks of accidents too. The planet, though, is the one who really loses out when people drive aggressively.
It’s not just about aggressive driving, though. Driving fast can also force you to go through fuel much faster, increasing dependence on fossil fuels. Aside from that, Green Moxie reports that in most vehicles fuel efficiency tops out at about 55 miles per hour. This means that speeding is doing no favor to the fuel efficiency of your vehicle or the planet.
Keep your hands inside the vehicle at all times. It might feel nice to cup your hands and collect the cool night air in your hands while driving down the road, but it’s murder on your car’s gas bill.
Pay Attention to Regular Maintenance
Oil changes, air filter changes, tire pressure, and even the alignment of cars and balancing of wheels all play critical roles in how well your car performs. When cars perform optimally, fuel efficiency corresponds. When they perform poorly, though, fuel efficiency suffers and carbon emissions, on top of fossil fuel usage, go on the rise.
Change Your Workweek
Consider asking your boss for permission to telecommute all or some of the days of your week. Technology has advanced to the point that you no longer need to be in the office, in many fields, to perform your job admirably.
Some people even find that productivity improves considerably when not confronted with the numerous daily interruptions working in an office environment provides. More importantly, the more days you’re not commuting to work, the more days you’re not contributing to the global problem of carbon emissions from cars.
Every small step in the right direction makes a huge difference when it comes to protecting the planet. The more of these small changes you can make, the bigger your overall impact for the good of the planet will be.
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