Being environmentally conscious does not mean that you have to turn into a hippie and ride your bicycle all over town even in freezing conditions. While there is nothing wrong with pedaling sometimes, this is just not a realistic way to live for a lot of people. Our society is based on commuting, and for most people’s daily transportation needs a car is just as necessary as having a decent pair of shoes. However, just because you drive a car as a matter of near-necessity does not mean that you have to turn into a Captain Planet villain polluting as much as is humanly possible. Let’s take a look at a few ways on how to reduce personal carbon footprint and become a more environmentally friendly driver..
First off, remember that rolling is the best way to keep your car using its gas more efficiently. While a lot of drivers have gotten into the unfortunate habit of accelerating between stop lights (even if the stop light they are heading toward is a fresh red one), only to stop right before they get to the light. This is bad for several different reasons. For one, you are accelerating just to stop, which wastes gas and puts out more noxious fumes. For another, you are running a greater risk of being unable to stop in time and getting into an accident. Thirdly, you can simply coast, which saves your gas, your brakes, and the environment a little bit of strain.
Another way that you can be an environmentally conscious driver is to avoid idling whenever you can do so. When you idle, your engine is working for essentially nothing. For newer cars, there is no “warming up” period necessary, even in cold weather. And since new cars take only about ten seconds worth of idling to use the same amount of gas as starting, you are not save anything by allowing your car to idle for a long time, such as in heavy (non-moving) traffic. If you can, you might as well just turn off the ignition and sit tight while you wait for what’s happening to just run its course.
One more thing you can do to make sure that your personal carbon footprint is as low as possible behind the wheel is to get your engine tuned up on a regular basis. By the time the “check engine” light comes on in your car, you might already be doing damage to the poor vehicle. While you might not be able to tell what the right sounds are in your car if it is new, by the time you have had it for a year or so you should know when something is “off”; cars are notorious for giving their owners plenty of auditory warnings long before they get to a serious point of damage. If your engine light has gone on, do not wait. Unless you are on the way to the emergency room, take your car to get checked immediately.
These are just a few of the ways you can effectively reduce your negative impact on the environment while keeping access to your preferred mode of transportation.