Top 7 Green Driving Tips
We all need to work together to make our planet a clean and healthy place for everyone. You are probably already doing quite a bit to help the environment, such as recycling plastics and other items, and using the compost bins instead of throwing certain things into the trash. Did you know that you can also help the environment while you are driving your car? This may sound strange, because cars pollute, right? Yes, cars do pollute. But most of us have to drive them every day, and there are steps we can take to make sure that we are not sending so many emissions into the air.
Here are some great green driving tips you can use to help do your part to protect the environment:
How to Be ‘Greener’
Cut back on the speed
It is dangerous to speed anyway, so it is a good idea to make sure that you are always driving at, or even below, the posted speed limit. The added bonus to this is because you are not driving as fast, you are not burning as much fuel, meaning fewer emissions in the air. For example, if you just drive 10 kilometres slower than you normally do, you can save as much as 25% of your fuel. Also make sure that you are not a lead foot. You only need to press lightly on the gas pedal, and pressing hard will cause you to burn more fuel.
Always keep your vehicle in tip-top condition
If your vehicle is not in good working order, you are going to end up having a vehicle that could really be polluting the air. For example, if your vehicle burns oil, you will have smoke coming from it. If the engine is not up to snuff, you will probably be getting terrible gas mileage. A good rule of thumb is to have your car inspected annually (which is required by law anyway), and having it checked over every six months is even better.
Check your tires
If you don’t pay attention to your tires, you could be burning a lot of excess fuel. Make sure that you check them at least once every week or two to make sure that they are full enough. Only do this when the tires are cool to get a truly accurate reading. If your tires are under inflated, they are going to pull your vehicle closer to the road, and you will have to burn more fuel to get up to the proper speeds. You should also make sure that they are in proper alignment. If they are not, they will also cause a drag that is going to burn fuel. This is something that you cannot do yourself, and you must take your vehicle to a certified mechanic for a wheel alignment. Ideally, you will have this done at the beginning of the summer and winter seasons, when you are getting your tires changed.
Don’t just put it in park and idle
If you are going to be stopping for just a short time, you probably often just let your vehicle sit there and idle. You may even think that it is hard on your starter if you are constantly stopping and starting your vehicle. It is much better for your vehicle, and for the environment, if you do not let it idle, but shut it off completely instead. If you are waiting to pick someone up, stop the car, especially if that person is later than they said they would be. If you are just running into the store for a minute and there is a passenger in the vehicle, don’t leave it running just so they can listen to the radio while you are gone.
Start up a car pool with co-workers or neighbours
If you have to commute to work every day, you are making that drive twice daily, at least five days a week. That is a lot of fuel you are burning in the run of a week, which is not only terrible for the environment, but also hard on your wallet. Why not talk to your co-workers or neighbours, and try to get a car pool going? This is a great way to save fuel, which means that everyone is going to be saving money, and doing their part to help the environment, while still getting to work on time.
Start using public transportation
Do you really need to use your vehicle all the time, or are there times when you can easily take public transportation? If you can take a bus or train to work or school easier than you can drive and find a place to park, why are you taking your vehicle in the first place? It is going to cost a lot less to pay for public transportation than it is to pay for the gas you will burn to get to your destination, not to mention the cost of parking for the day.
Try motorless transportation
When the weather is nice, have you ever considered riding a bicycle to work instead of driving a vehicle? This is a really great way to conserve fuel, because the only fuel you are going to be burning is calories, which is just going to help you get into better shape. In Ontario, you will find many routes that are marked specifically for bicyclists, so you should have no problem finding a quick and easy way for you to get to work. If you live close enough, you can even walk to work, which is also great exercise.
You want to be able to drive your vehicle, but you also want to make sure that when doing so, you are being a responsible driver, and not just about road rules. You should always take care to make sure you are polluting as little as possible, and the best ways to do this is to drive slowly, keep your car in good shape, and have your tires properly inflated. Don’t drive anywhere you don’t have to, and never let your vehicle sit idling.
Andrei Zakhareuski is the founder of Find-a-driving-school.ca. He has been writing for beginner Canadian drivers for several years.
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