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Practicing Greener Driving

With all the eco-friendly people and companies featured in the news, you may feel like you have to be extreme in your green lifestyle to make a difference. The truth is, though, that some effort is better than none, and this is definitely true in regard to your vehicle use. Although you may not be able to give up driving entirely, you can change a few practices to reduce the impact your car has on the environment.

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Minimize Idling Time: Your car is burning fossil fuels and producing emissions anytime it’s on, even if you aren’t moving. You don’t have to go to the extreme of turning off your car at every stop light, but try to minimize unnecessary idling time. Warming up your engine in the winter consumes unnecessary fuel, so invest in a good pair of gloves, hop in your car and go.

Use Your Windows: For decades, cars didn’t have air conditioning. This luxury isn’t something you should depend on because it uses gas and is often unnecessary. Instead, open your windows for air flow. When you do need to use air conditioning during uncomfortably hot weather, point the vents at you, close the others, and use the minimum setting needed to maintain comfort.

Travel Light: Every pound of weight you have in or on your car requires more fuel to keep your car moving. Plus, racks or storage bins on your car make it less aerodynamic. Therefore, take out heavy items you don’t need and pack up your car with necessities each time you go out.

Choose Eco-Friendly Materials: The products you use on your car or add to your car have an impact on the environment, too. For example, when you purchase new tires, look for ones made from refined synthetic rubber, which is more durable and creates less waste than traditional tire material. Choose a car washing method that uses less water and biodegradable soap to minimize your impact on the environment.

Manage Tire Pressure: You can increase your fuel efficiency by 3.3 percent by having the right tire pressure. The correct tire pressure depends on your vehicle’s weight and is printed on a sticker inside the driver’s side door. Having an air compressor at home makes it easy to maintain the right pressure. And remember: properly inflated tires don’t need to be replaced as often.

Use Alternate Transportation: Spend a week or two logging every time you drive your car and how far you travel. Review this log and consider how you could reduce the number of miles you drive. For example, you could bike or walk to nearby destinations instead of driving, or carpool to destinations that are farther away. Running all your errands in one trip also helps minimize driving.

Living a green lifestyle is about starting greener habits in the areas you’re willing to make changes. One of the major ways you impact the environment is through your driving habits. Any technique you can rely on to drive fewer miles or use less gas will make a difference for the environment.

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