According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) of the United States, greenhouse gas emissions from transportation accounts for 29 percent of the total greenhouse emission in the United States, making it the largest contributor. From 1990 until now, the numbers have been rising consistently. Personal cars are the biggest culprit and despite all the efforts that the government is doing, the result will never be as impactful as if the drivers took matters into their own hands.
It is easy to ignore it or just argument that it is too big of a problem for an individual to solve. However, there are easy ways that all of us can do to alleviate our driving impact on the environment. Here at NINTE, we had a discussion about it and curated a list of the easiest things to do to reduce the amount of carbon footprint left by our vehicles.
Going with an environment friendly vehicle
This one is the most impactful in this list but only applies to a handful of people: those who are getting their first vehicle or those who are just considering to buy a new one. Traditional gas vehicle are the most polluting so any other alternatives will net in a positive benefit to the environment. Electric vehicles are the most efficient. Instead of burning gas, they use electricity to power the car, reducing extremely green gas emission. We suggest the Tesla Model 3 if you are looking for one as it has both good professional and user reviews. Also, check our article on the disadvantages of EVs before deciding on a purchase, it is a good read.
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are also very appealing. They still use fuel but uses electricity for most of its functionality, reducing its greenhouse gas emission significantly.
For those who already own a gas vehicle, using a more efficient fuel (if your car allows it) made from Ethanol (E85), hydrogen or compressed natural gas will reduce the overall greenhouse gas emitted.
Here’s the first thing that all of us can do easily (maybe with a little practice): building good habits. First, we should try to avoid heavy loading as much as possible. When the car is fully loaded, it uses more gas to cover the same distance than if it was not, thus, emitting more greenhouse gas. Unload all the unnecessary boxes, tools and whatnots that is not essential to you and your car.
Second, try not to do hard acceleration or hard break as much as you can. While it is very tempting to just slam the gas pedal when the traffic light turns green, it rarely gains significant amount of time and just uses more gas. Same goes with breaking; try to anticipate the behavior of the car in front of you and just break accordingly. Those good habits will not only reward you from being eco-friendly but will also extend the life of your car.
Doing regular car maintenance (weekly if you have the time) can also help keep your car in good shape and avoid all the extra gas spending that will result from a non efficient car. In particular, you should replace gas and oil filter regularly, and with a good quality one. It is tempting to go the cheap way but it will reduce your gas mileage and you will end up replacing it more often.
Furthermore, tires should also be checked regularly. It is always showcased in tire advertisement how a good tire will help you save gas. While it is true, it is just half the story. You also need to check how filled with air your tires are. Car runs efficiently at a certain level (which depends on each car but can easily be checked on the car manual or on the internet) so making sure the tires are efficiently full will increase gas mileage.
The little things
There are many other things that you can also do to reduce your car’s greenhouse gas emission. First, you can plan all your trips. While sounding useless, it has a benefit: one longer trip is more efficient that many smaller trips. Moreover, if you drive early in the morning and late in the afternoon, the fresh air and cold wind will freshen your car up, making it run smoother and using less gas. Second, another little things that will have a huge impact is reducing idling time. When your car is turned on but not moving, it still consumes gas. Thus, a great habit to build is to turn off the car whenever it is not moving. Contrary to popular belief, turning your car on and off every time you halt for a while is no more harmful to your car than just letting it idle.
Lastly but obviously not the least, stopping driving from time to time is a straightforward way to reduce our carbon footprint. First, we can do so by using public transport instead. The government pushing us to use it is not only for reducing congestion but also mostly for protecting the environment. Second, cycling. Not only is it a very green way of transport but you also gain health benefit from exercising. Lastly, another way for us to reduce our driving is carpooling. If your workmate is living nearby your place and you both go to the office, why not carpool and save some fuel, right?
Those are just a glimpse of what you can do to reduce the carbon footprint of your car. While it is not complete, those are very easy to follow and will make a difference if we can stick to it. Climate change is at a very critical situation now and we should do all that we can to stop its progression. Those tips are not only for reducing our greenhouse gas emission but also for saving fuel and making our car last longer. So, there you go, three (3) reasons to do what we have listed in here, you can’t but do it (haha).
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