Updated: Jul 31, 2020
Across the US, cities big and small are working to make it easier for people to get around without a personal car. Still, it’s a slow process to raise the funds and develop the infrastructure. If you’re concerned about the carbon footprint that accompanies car ownership, you don’t have to wait for your city to catch up. Even if you can’t afford an electric vehicle, there are small changes you can make to your lifestyle that can help you be part of the solution.
Make sure your car is running efficiently
Did you know that when your tires are under-inflated, your car’s engine has to work harder? By keeping your tires at their optimal pressure, you can save gas without changing any of your driving habits.
Other things to keep an eye on are your radiator, emissions system, and fuel system. The best way to make sure your car is staying fuel-efficient is to get it tuned up regularly.
Watch what you put in your car
Avoid Topping Off
When you squeeze out a little extra gas after the pump stops, you’re overfilling your gas tank, which actually increases the chances of harmful vapors escaping your tank. Those gas station censors are there for a reason.
Pay attention to what you keep in your car. The more weight you drive around, the more gas you use. Think of it as the perfect excuse to finally clean out your car and drop those boxes off at Good Will. Check out our previous post about eco-friendly ways to deep clean your car for more tips.
Change how you use your car
Accelerating and braking both eat up gas. The smartest way to use less fuel is to lose the road rage and coast instead. Let your car slow down naturally by releasing the gas early, instead of accelerating and braking. And don’t floor it when the light turns green!
AC and Windows
On average, you lose about 3 miles to the gallon when you run your AC system. But driving at high speeds with your windows down creates a drag force that your car has to work against. So which is more fuel-efficient? A simple rule of thumb is to enjoy the breeze on the side streets and use your AC on the highway.
Switch up your commute
An easy and fun way to make a drive more eco-friendly is to carpool with a friend or coworker. When two people share one car, they reduce the amount of fuel being burned by half. It’s simple math! Not to mention that fewer cars on the road create less traffic.
Even if you don’t live close enough to a public transit station, look for Park and Ride lots where you can leave your car and commute the rest of the way via bus or train. Even if you do this once a week, you’ll be making an impact. Plus, buses and trains are sometimes faster than sitting in rush hour traffic.
You can cut back on cruising, traffic, and stress by reserving your parking in advance. Don’t waste time and gas circling the block waiting for a spot to open up.