Vehicle emissions make up a huge proportion of overall air pollution. However, only the most environmentally conscious humans regularly take measures to reduce the amount of time they or others spend on the road. Rethinking how people drive can cut pollution levels significantly.
How can someone cut down on drive time when daily commutes and trips to the grocers’ take up so much of the average person’s time? Doing so can prove easier than most think. Here are eight innovative ways drivers can reduce the weekly time spent at the wheel that will delight both them and the planet.
1. Slow Down a Bit
Driving over the limit burns more fuel, so people should resist the urge to put the pedal to the medal. Admittedly, this can prove difficult on long, lonely stretches of interstate, but how often do anyone but truck drivers take extended treks on the daily?
Speeds greater than 60 mph increase gas expenses and emissions significantly. Slowing down can save both dollars at the pump and wear and tear on a vehicle.
2. Perform Proper Maintenance
Performing proper vehicle maintenance such as getting regular oil changes doesn’t only extend engine life, but it also reduces emissions. When people drive, dirt and oil clog their engines. Performing proper maintenance keeps automobile engines from working too hard and expelling more particulates into the air.
3. Break the Myths Around Driving
The average American spends 17,600 minutes each year driving, and a lot of that time is spent sitting in traffic. Most people let their engines idle while stuck on the freeway, but doing so burns up a huge amount of fuel.
Instead of letting cars idle in heavy traffic, turning the engine off saves on emissions. This may not always be possible, as extreme weather may make sitting in frigid or humid temperatures uncomfortable. Whenever the climate permits, though, turn the key and save on gas if sitting for a minute or more.
4. Get a Windshield Upgrade
Different states have laws dictating how much window tint drivers may apply. However, tints can reduce emissions by helping moderate temperatures inside the vehicle. Those who live in sunny locales benefit their wallets greatly by getting a legal shade applied.
5. Learn How to Drive
For years, stick-shift drivers extolled the gas-saving virtues of their driving techniques, but advancements in automotive technology — coupled with the proliferation of automatic transmissions — rendered such claims dubious. However, all manual vehicles contain an “idiot light” informing the driver when to upshift. Use this tool, as grinding gears burns up gas quickly.
Slowing down, stopping gradually and obeying safety rules saves gas, too. Investing in a safe driving course may help save the environment as well as retaining more dough at fill-up time.
6. Rethink the Lift Kit
Bigger isn’t necessarily better when it comes to vehicles, so unless working for an off-road adventure company, reconsider adding a lift kit to that Jeep for show. Doing so makes engines work harder, exuding more exhaust into the atmosphere.
7. Explore Alternative Options
Those in the market for a new auto should investigate alternative fuel vehicles to reduce their carbon footprint. However, consumers not considering investing in a new car still can reduce their emissions.
Explore telecommuting options with employers. Unless working in a customer-facing role, many workers perform as efficiently at home as they do at the office, many more so.
Still driving miles for specialist doctor appointments? Look into telemedicine. This has made it possible for those living in rural areas to find care, but it can also help urban dwellers reduce their environmental impact. Why take the time to drive to a physician for med refills when it can be done closer to home by harnessing the power of the internet?
8. Ship It for the Win
Suffering from a love-hate affair with Jeff Bezos? Those who frequent online companies such as Amazon or Chewy should order supplies in bulk. Yes, many companies are experimenting with drone technology, but until such delivery methods become par for the course, those goodies ordered online arrive by truck.
Instead of ordering a flood of Prime deliveries over the course of the week, wait until payday and order one huge shipment so FedEx only needs to ring once. Many online stores offer free shipping to those who buy in bulk, so doing so can help save some pennies, too.
Hitting the Open Road Less Often
Travel expands human horizons, but most drivers need to get to work or the market, not go on an adventure. Reducing carbon emissions means cutting down on the amount of time spent on the road. People can help protect the planet and save their sanity by trying some of these tips to reduce fuel consumption.