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Simple Ways to Become a Greener Driver

2/20/2013 1:22:02 PM | by Anonymous

Car Maintenance Service

In a world where green living is being embraced as a moral obligation, driving a car can carry a certain stigma -- especially among more fervent environmental activists. Unfortunately, in some cases there's simply no convenient way around driving a car, whether it's on your commute to work, when traveling between cities or when public transportation isn't accessible or quick enough. Our communities are designed to accommodate cars more than any other mode of transportation, so you can't feel too bad when you need to step behind the wheel.

 

But if you're still keen on being as green-friendly as possible, you aren't doomed by your car-going ways. In reality, there are several ways you can modify your driving habits -- and your car maintenance -- to reduce your carbon footprint and make your driving less of a drain on the environment. Here are a few tricks that can help you start making a difference today.

 

Don't Warm It Up

It's nice sitting down in a vehicle that's already been optimized to room temperature. But all those minutes spent idling in the driveway -- especially in the dead of winter -- is improving your comfort by churning exhaust fumes into the atmosphere. It might make for an unpleasant morning drive, but simply getting into your car and starting your drive right away can make a big difference, especially over time.

 

Plus, if you're out and about in your vehicle, the interior will warm up faster -- and you'll be a few minutes ahead of schedule.

 

Leave Off the Air

Air conditioning feels great, sure, but your car's cooling units can tax your car's energy and create unnecessary air pollution. While air conditioning may be your best friend on summer's hottest days, there are plenty of other days where you can swap out air conditioning for open windows and the cool breeze that comes with it.

 

Lighten Your Load

Too many cars are weighed down with cargo that the driver doesn't need. Take time to inspect your vehicle's trunk and back seats for anything that doesn't need to be toted around with you. Consider removing unused exterior racks and minimizing the weight of the vehicle -- if you can do that, you'll get better gas mileage and put fewer emissions into the air.

 

Do a Routine Tire Check

Tires wear out over time. You'll want to keep them properly inflated with air to improve your fuel efficiency and to get more mileage out of your wheels, but when it's time to replace them, don't delay. Seek out wheels made from refined synthetic rubber, which will help cut down on the number of processed tires out on America's roadways.

 

Obey the Speed Limit

No, this is not a subtle attempt to persuade you to follow the rules. The speed limit may be in place for safety reasons, but driving at a reasonable speed also improves your fuel efficiency. When you push your vehicle to its limit and elevate its RPM, your vehicle is forced to process fuel less efficiently, which cuts down on your gas mileage. By driving below the speed limit, you'll get a great run out of your tank of gas.

 

Skip Driving When You Can

Of course, just because you have to drive sometimes doesn't mean you have to take your car everywhere you go. When you can, take the opportunity to go for a walk, ride a bike or even take public transit in lieu of a car. You'll save money on driving costs, and you'll probably enjoy the commute more.

 

Owning a car doesn't make you the arch-nemesis of the green movement. Awareness and accommodations are central to enacting meaningful change that benefits the environment, and any improvement upon your past lifestyle is a step in the right direction. Take advantage of what opportunities you have and always be open to other simple changes that can make a big difference.

 

Author Bio: Holly Vic Hammond is an Indianapolis native with a passion for living a green lifestyle. In her spare time, she enjoys blogging on behalf of Sears and other brands she loves.

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