Green driving without a hybrid or electric car


Driving is a part of culture.  Cars represent social status, finances, family sizes, extracurricular activities, and more.  In other words, the use of cars is a part of life that is not going to cease.  The impact of vehicle related CO2 emissions, however, can no longer be ignored.  There are more than 250 million cars regularly operated within the United States alone.  In total, these cars make 365 billion trips with a combined mileage of 2.3 trillion miles per year.  This is hard on the planet and there is no denying it.  The time has come to go green; it doesn’t matter what your income is, there is a way for each one of us to make improvements.  Fortunately, there are numerous ways to be a green driver without having to buy a new hybrid or electric car.  All you need is a little bit of creativity and some commitment to the greater cause.
Giving up driving all together would be ideal, but is too unrealistic for most Americans.  Instead, you can start with a few simple steps towards greener transportation.

Step One:  Smooth on the road, means smoother on the environment.  Smoother driving with less time spent on the gas or the brakes can equate to substantially less carbon emissions.  How is this so?  One second of flooring it can make the same CO2 emissions as a full thirty minutes of travel.  It takes a lot of energy to get that engine to go, so work on smoother transitions.
Don’t idle your car.  Nine minutes of idling is double the pollutants of turning the car off and then on again.  Despite the myths, you will not waste gas by restarting your engine.  Try to avoid rush hour traffic, but if you do wind up in traffic, be sure to turn off your engines if you are at a standstill for more than 30 seconds. 
Service your car regularly.  This means regular oil and air filter changes, and keeping tires inflated.  Poorly maintained engines can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 20 percent.  Slightly deflated tires can also reduce miles per gallon.  Simple updates will keep you on the green commuter track.
Step Two:  Try to work from home whenever possible.  You could start by telling your boss that it boosts morale, profits, and the eco-friendliness of the company.  This small change could potentially save 2 billion gallons of gasoline per year.  Telecommuting one day a week could cut CO2 emissions by 400 lbs. per year.  Who would want to say no to that?
Get flexed with work.  This means that if you can’t telecommute, maybe you can ask to have a schedule that is outside of the peak hours.  This way you avoid rush hour traffic and all the carbon-filled standstills that so often go along with it. 
Use mass transit or use your body.  Alternate transportation a few days a week has great benefits.  This could mean biking, busing, scootering, or even walking if it’s not too far.  This will not only save on CO2 emissions, but could also save you some gas money.
Step Three:  Take the big step when the time comes-  when your old car dies, upgrade to an eco-friendly vehicle.  While this may cost more upfront, it will undoubtedly save you in gas costs over time.  With gas prices sky rocketing to nearly five dollars a gallon, this is a sound investment indeed.  You could always look into purchasing a used hybrid or electric car to save a little more.  In the end, you help yourself when you help the planet.
About the author: Jenni Sunde is a freelance fashion writer and pop culture junkie. Jenni specializes in all things lifestyle-related. From home and design to health and beauty. With her love of art and all things beautiful, she delights in sharing her sense of style from her life to your computer monitor. Her title pegs her as an editor at a website that specializes in providing people with car insurance quotes, but her passion leads her into writing with a little more substance and a lot more heart.

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