The first thing I would suggest is to make sure that you have up to date maintenance on your car and that you continue to maintain it well. The efficiency of the vehicle helps the environment by reducing your fuel usage. Another thing to consider is converting your car into a hybridized model. There are several kits available that can be installed on your vehicle, by yourself with instructions or by a mechanic, that will greatly reduce the amount of fuel you will need to use and that will greatly benefit the environment as well.
Slessman is right, keep your vehicle up to date on its maintenance, get the oil changed at least every 7,000 miles (most manufacturers had said every 3,000 miles as does JiffyLube, but Consumer Reports and others say cars only need new oil every 7,00 miles). The other thing to do (just as Bush senior told us to do in the early 90’s and environmental advocates have been saying for years) is to make sure you keep your tires inflated properly. This is easy and inexpensive and increases your gas mileage significantly.
Regarding hybridized kits, you can convert diesel engines to run on biodiesel or fryer oil and gas engines to run on ethanol or E85. Some links are below and such conversions cost between $400 and $1,500.
The biggest thing you can do to make your car greener is to hold onto it for as long as you can. Some people use the term, ‘run it into the ground’ which may sound fresh, but in reality that it was you’re trying to do over a length of time. The longer you have your vehicle the more use you’re getting out of it (duh!) but jokes aside, the longer you have it, the more it’s like recycling your vehicle because just as we use and re-use our green grocery bags instead of getting new plastic ones each time we go to the store, you are using and re-using your vehicle instead of purchasing a new one.
One trick that is beginning to take on enormous popularity is called hypermiling. Hypermiling is the act (some call it a skill) of getting the absolute highest mileage out of your vehicle using all sorts of tricks and techniques. See below for a few suggestions (these really make a difference!):
1. Stop speeding: every time you put the pedal to the metal you’re using gas. The harder you push, the more gas you use and the more $ you spend
2. Coast up to lights: when you see a light ahead of you, take your foot off the gas. If it’s green you can put your foot back on (or simply coast through the light) but if it’s yellow or red you’ll be able to ‘float’ up to the light and lightly press on the brake instead of slamming or even pushing hard to get the vehicle to stop
3. Avoid idling: if you’re going to be sitting for anymore than 10 seconds (except in traffic), turn off the vehicle while you run into the store or stop at the bank
4. Use your cruise control: piggybacking on the idea of not speeding, use that cruise control setting your vehicle has. This will keep you from inadvertently increasing your speed
5. Lose weight: in your car of course! Take out any extra items that may be weighing the car down and using extra gas such as golf clubs, basketballs, furniture, laundry, etc. Every little bit counts!
Check out the resource below for a full list.
Another possibility is to make sure you watch how you wash your car. Washing your car at home on the driveway is a very bad idea, since all of the soap and pollutants get washed down the storm drain and into the rivers and oceans. The best thing you can do is to wash your car at a car wash, where the waste is treated and filtered. Since everyone else mentioned all that I could think of, this would be a healthy “lifestyle” tip for the environment.
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