How to make driving a little easier on the environment
Carpooling, using public transit and cycling are considered effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint, but such measures require lifestyle changes that can be difficult to carry out. If you’re not ready to give up your car, here are some green driving tips so you can make a difference – for your pocketbook as well as the environment!
1. Travel light
Does your car sometimes look like a storage facility, with bike racks, boxes and sports equipment weighing you down? Consider removing anything you don’t need to lighten your vehicle. All unnecessary weight makes your car run less efficiently, which in turn means you’re using more gas (gas consumption rises by one to two percent for every 45 kilograms in the trunk).
Drivers of standard transmission vehicles can reduce gas consumption by anticipating speed changes. Fuel consumption is directly related to how hard the engine is working. Use first gear only when you’re coming out of neutral, and shift gears as quickly as possible to avoid overworking or “lugging” the engine.
Shifting gears rapidly does not mean you should drive faster! The faster you drive, the more your car encounters air resistance – meaning higher gas consumption. Minimize acceleration and deceleration to avoid wasting gas. You can do this by anticipating traffic patterns that require you to brake often and modifying your speed accordingly. Driving at a smooth and steady pace will not only save you money on gas but also protect your tires and brakes. Leave a little earlier than usual and slow down. Your journey will be more environmentally friendly, safer and more relaxed!
4.Take part in a program like automerit
Programs like automerit reward you with a personalized discount by assessing your acceleration, braking, and the time of day that you drive. Good driving habits, like curbing quick accelerations, can help you save and also do good for the environment!
5.Maintain your vehicle
Make sure to use the right kind of oil for your car and have regular oil changes. Consider synthetic oil, known to reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by carbon combustion. Synthetic oil needs to be changed less often, which is another plus for the environment. Finally, be sure to check your tire pressure: low pressure increases fuel consumption to the point of accounting for the use of an extra 643 milllion litres per year by Canadian vehicles.
6.Cut down on luxuries
Avoid running the air conditioner on short trips or in the city, as this little convenience boosts your gas consumption by 20 per cent. Before starting your vehicle, take a moment to air out the interior in order to lower the temperature and then leave the windows closed if you have the AC running.
7.Consider buying or leasing an electric vehicle
If you drive 15,000 km per year, you can save 85 per cent on gas alone with an electric car. There are four types of electric cars on the market today: battery-operated electric vehicles, rechargeable hybrids and hydrogen battery vehicles. Each has specific advantages and all are likely to become more affordable in the coming years. To promote their use and encourage greener forms of transportation, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec offer rebates for people buying or leasing electric cars.
These small measures can go a long way to make your driving a little more environmentally friendly.
And please remember to always drive safely!
This article is part of our car information hub
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