5 Ways to Drive Green

October 1, 2013

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Every gallon of gas you burn creates 20 pounds of carbon dioxide, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. And a year on the road can create five to nine tons of carbon dioxide. Staggering statistics may make you want to run out and buy a hybrid, but your wallet says no. Fortunately, the following green tips can help you save and positively impact the environment without replacing your current ride.

1. Ease Off the Brake for a Smoother Ride

Your driving habits could be eating your fuel at a fast pace. Aggressive habits like rapidly accelerating and quickly braking can significantly increase your fuel consumption. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that you can lower your gas mileage by a third on the highway just by avoiding these habits, and when you drive more smoothly in town, you will lower your fuel consumption by 5 percent. Over the course of a year, that means that you can reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by up to 3 tons.

2. Check Under the Hood

A vehicle in poor shape can consume four to 40 percent more gasoline than a vehicle that is in tip top shape. Womens Health Magazine advises tuning up your car on a regular basis to avoid inadvertently turning it into a gas guzzler. Although Click and Clack, the National Public Radio car gurus and comedians, left the air last year after 35 years, you can still find a trustworthy mechanic in the Mechanic Files on the Car Talk website.

3. Replace with Green

During your car’s lifespan, you will have to replace various bits and bobs, and you should ensure that any replacement parts you buy are as green as possible. Whether you are buying new windshield wipers or blinker bulbs, pay attention to the quality of the product you are buying. While cheap items may save you money upfront, those items tend to break quickly and go straight to the landfill. As you look for replacement products, try to find companies that specialize in eco-consciousness. For instance, while tire shopping, check out a company like Kumho Tires at TireBuyer. This company focuses on eco-conscious materials and manufacturing strategies so you can drive on their tires without worrying about the impact on the environment.

4. Ditch your Ride

Green your drive by reducing the amount of time that you spend behind the wheel. TreeHugger.com offers ideas that can help you ditch your ride. If your commute is long, approach your boss with a proposal about the workplace benefits of working from home. If your requests to telecommute are denied, buy a bus ticket, use public transit or gather a like-minded group of people to carpool with you. You can also mix up your commute by driving and jumping on a train or a bus on certain days of the week.

5) Lighten the Load

A vehicle that is weighed down with extra weight will consume more gas and create more emissions. Before getting on the road, remove your luggage rack and empty your trunk. Ideally, the only extra weight your car should have is passengers from your carpool group.

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Welcome to Hark Upon the Green! This blog is a shared space for members of the sustainability community at William & Mary to write about sustainability topics on and beyond. If you would like to contribute to the blog, contact Madeleine Boel, Committee on Sustainability Web Assistant, at mgboel@email.wm.edu.
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To learn what William & Mary's Environmental Law Society is up to, visit their blog at http://envirols.blogs.wm.edu/.

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