6 Eco-Driving Tips to Make Your Car Nature-Friendly
In one of our previous posts about “green” cars, we pointed out several reasons why drivers who care about the Earth should not hesitate to buy such vehicles. But not all of you fit that category. In fact, there’s a good number of you out there who do care about the environment, but can’t buy an environmentally friendly ride at the moment. Don’t stress. There are several eco driving practices that can make your current vehicle more suitable for the environment. It just takes a little knowledge on how to maintain and operate your car and fortunately, that information is yours to keep.
Nature Doesn’t Like all Cars
Until a few years ago, there was little talk about eco-driving movements. Cars were polluting the air in our cities (and still continue to do so), and no one but a handful of people ever raised any concerns. Of course, things have changed. Now that science and technology has advanced, we’re more aware of the damaging effects brought on by emissions from cars, as well as the need to reduce them. But there are still a ton of environmentally-hazardous cars from previous years out there, and they still have many years left in them. Perhaps you, a friend or family member owns such a vehicle. If that’s the case, you may feel like you’re stuck with it.
All hope is lost? Not a chance
But not all hope is lost. As mentioned in the opening paragraph, there’s a lot you can do to turn your vehicle into a more “green” version of itself. It’s a lot like your body – you can turn a fatigued and out-of-shape self into a stunning, athletic figure, provided you put in the effort. And the same goes for your car. The beauty of it all is that you don’t need to buy any expensive add-ons or gadgets to make your vehicle more eco-friendly. All it takes is a new understanding of how your car pollutes the air and more importantly, the habits you need to practice to correct.
It Starts from Within
An easier-said-than-done method for reducing emissions, would be to drive less (which we’ll discuss in a bit). But that’s not realistic for everyone. So it makes sense to focus on tweaking your driving habits and maintenance practices first. After all, they are all necessary tasks (or at least should be) to begin with.
Maintain the Engine
Your engine, if properly maintained, can do a lot more than affect your car’s performance. It also has an effect on your car’s emissions. A car with a poorly maintained engine is likely to lead your car to release more emissions, and it can be very apparent in some cases (ie. black smoke). Faulty sensors (oxygen sensors for example), and dirty air filters (usually from a buildup of dirt or oil), can lead to the unsightly smoke that seeps out of tailpipes. The obvious solution is to replace these components as necessary, for example, when getting your oil changed.
But less obvious modifications, include changing the type of oil you use for the engine. Although there is some debate about the use of synthetic oils over conventional, synthetic versions vaporize at slower rates than conventional ones, making them better choices for the eco-conscious.
Pushing the pedal to metal less often has a ton of benefits. The most obvious is that you have a lower chance of getting pulled over by the cops, and picking up one of those dreaded and expensive tickets. Speeding less will also reduce your risk of getting into accidents (with other cars, cyclists or pedestrians), as well as your fuel consumption. In terms of fuel usage, you’ll spend less on gas and need less of it, meaning your car will release a smaller amount of emissions. So a quick and easy way to reduce your impact on the environment, is to slow down.
We’re all guilty of idling from time to time (and you can get a fine for it). You know the deal – standing curbside on a street (even though there’s a “no standing” sign) waiting for a friend, or sitting on the driveway texting or looking through our playlists. Sometimes you have to do it, but there are other times when idling is just unnecessary. It goes without saying that idling too much releases more emissions. On a grand scale, it’s not much, but when hundreds of millions of people are doing it, you’ll no doubt appreciate the fact that it adds up and has an effect on the environment. With that said, the solution is once again simple – keep tabs on the amount of time spent idling and reduce it. Better yet, cut it out altogether if possible.
Same Road, Different Seat
The other side of eco driving is learning to use your car less. For some of you, that’s not entirely possible because you live so far away from work or the hobbies you love. However, you may be in a position to make some lifestyle changes when it comes to your car. With that said, these changes will come at your own discretion.
You most likely have a few friends at your workplace. Assuming you get along and have a good rapport, you should consider carpooling with them. Not only can this take some stress off of you as a driver (constantly sitting in traffic is no fun), it will mean less driving and of course, fewer emissions. If more people tried their hand at carpooling, there would certainly be less pollution in our air.
It’s not always fun waiting at a bus stop (especially on a scorching or frigid day), but there are benefits to taking public transit. For one, it will save you money on gas. Secondly, it will translate to less time spent behind the wheel, and reduce emissions overall. Additionally, there’s the advantage of doing things you never get much time to do anymore, such as reading, crossword puzzles and even napping.
Consider a green vehicle
A few of you might be considering the purchase of another car. If you’re in that position, then consider buying a green vehicle. The most common form of such vehicles are hybrids, although the electric cars have grown more popular and accessible to the average customer. Even more conventional cars (that aren’t hybrids or electric vehicles) make use of eco-friendly fuels, such as biofuels. These fuel types have less of an impact on the environment when compared to the gas sold at most stations today.
Give Nature a Helping hand
For those of you who deeply care about the environment, driving a car that’s not truly eco-friendly might leave you feeling somewhat disheartened. But there are ways around this. You can turn a conventional car into a vehicle that helps you reduce your carbon footprint, by means of the right eco driving habits. Many of them are simple practices that don’t take too much time or cost too much money. In fact, they’re usually part of a regular maintenance routine anyway. Whether it’s as simple as getting your oil changed, or relying more on alternative forms of transportation, you can make your vehicle a tool for environmentally-positive action.