Our cars are huge contributors to harmful greenhouse gases. In fact, in 2015 transportation accounted for 27 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
The electric and hybrid automobile industry has made tremendous strides in recent years, but a large portion of the population still drive gas-powered vehicles.
Unfortunately, many U.S. cities don’t have enough public transportation services for people to totally ditch driving altogether. This means we must rely on our cars for almost every aspect of our lives.
But if you can’t afford to purchase a hybrid or electric vehicle, you can still help cut down on harmful emissions. There are ways to turn your gas guzzler into a more eco-friendly car.
Let’s look at some of the things you can do.
Change the Type of Tires You Use
Many people don’t realize this, but there are tires available that are more environmentally friendly than what you’ve used in the past. They’re made from synthetic materials that are safer for the environment than traditional rubber tires.
The more gas you use, the more emissions your vehicle discharges into the air. These tires also have what’s called “rolling resistance,” which helps improve gas mileage, thus cutting down on emissions.
These special tires have design elements that help them avoid deformation that occurs during use. This results in a tire that provides longer, more efficient driving and less gas usage.
Aside from switching to these synthetic tires, keeping them properly inflated helps cut down on the amount of gas your car requires. Make sure and check your air-pressure about once a month.
Consult your owner’s manual to find out the proper amount of air for your vehicle.
Always Use a Clean Air Filter
If you want a more eco-friendly car, it’s essential you keep your engine’s air filter in good condition. If your air filter is clogged or covered in dirt and grime, clean air can’t get to your engine.
Think of the air filter as the way your car breathes. The dirtier it is, the harder it has to work.
Aside from the potential for damage to your vehicle, a dirty air filter causes your car to operate inefficiently. Keeping it clean improves your car’s performance and results in better gas mileage and fewer emissions.
The next time you need to replace your air filter, consider a reusable model. You may spend a little more up front, but in the long run, you’ll be saving money. Plus, you cut down on environmental waste and improve the gas mileage and efficiency of your vehicle.
Lighten the Load
One of the easiest changes you can make to acquire a more eco-friendly car is to keep it as light as possible. The heavier your vehicle is, the fewer miles per gallon you’ll get.
Obviously, you can’t change the actual weight of the vehicle itself, but the things you’re carrying in your car make a big difference. If you’re storing items in your trunk because you don’t have anywhere else to put them, it’s time to find them a new home.
Many people keep things like bikes, sports equipment, and car seats in their vehicles at all times. These things are hurting your fuel economy and creating more harmful emissions.
Scale back to only the essentials, like spare tires and portable jump starters. Tool Nerds offers reviews if you need a new one.
Cut Down on AC Use
This is a hard one for many people, especially if you live in a region that experiences hot summers. However, always running your air conditioner drastically increases your fuel consumption.
In fact, in hot weather, running the AC can potentially reduce fuel economy by 25 percent.
Instead, opt for rolling your windows down and keeping the AC off. Even if you only do this for half of your commute, you’re cutting down on fuel consumption.
This technique is more effective during city driving, as rolling your windows down on the highway creates wind resistance and can actually result in poorer fuel efficiency.
Remember to always look for shaded parking during the summer months so your vehicle is more tolerable when you start driving. These may seem like an insignificant changes, but when you’re trying to get a more eco-friendly car, every little bit counts.
Keep up with Regular Maintenance
Maintaining a car is something most people know they should do, however, regular tune-ups tend to get forgotten.
Aside from increasing the lifespan of your vehicle and helping avoid costly repairs, tune-ups also mean better fuel efficiency. Things like bad spark plugs, a dirty engine, a bad oxygen sensor and a dirty oil filter all contribute to poor performance and more emissions.
If you haven’t had a tune-up in a while, it’s probably a good idea to take it to a mechanic. They can inspect your vehicle and tell you what needs replacing or what service will help your vehicle run smoothly.
After you’ve had a tune-up, make sure you continue to have them performed at least once or twice a year. Even if you don’t notice a problem, it’s a good idea. You’ll probably notice you’re car runs better and that your gas mileage has increased.
Don’t Top Off at the Pump
Many people feel better if they top off their cars with gasoline. This means continuing to add gas after the automatic shut-off on the nozzle triggers. It turns out this is a bad habit.
Gas is a toxic material. Keeping fumes out of the air and off the ground is essential for the well-being of the environment.
In addition, it’s actually better to leave a small amount of room in your gas tank to allow the gas space for expansion. Topping off your vehicle can also hurt the vapor collection system. This mechanism helps reduce fuel emissions.
Drive an Eco-Friendly Car and Help the Environment
Many of us have to drive a car. There’s just no other option.
However, if there are steps we can take to bring down fuel emissions and reduce our carbon footprint, it’s our responsibility act. If you drive a gas-powered vehicle, use the tips above to turn it into the most eco-friendly car possible.
For more tips on living a greener life, check out our articles today.