The pandemic caused a huge amount of stress for countless Americans, but it did have one positive impact: it reduced carbon emissions and other environmental harms. With far fewer cars on the roads commuting to work, we started to see how life could be if more of us were to take sustainability seriously.
Of course, traffic has once again increased as we’ve gotten used to this “new normal.” And while it might not be realistic for people to give up their cars for good, some people may give more consideration to the ways in which they can reduce their environmental impact as they drive. You don’t even necessarily have to buy an electric vehicle, either. In fact, there are a number of ways you can make your current car a lot more eco-friendly. Here are just some of them to focus on in 2021.
One of the best ways to make your ride more environmentally responsible (and to avoid accidents) is to slow your roll. Although cars like the Shelby Mustang GT 500 had a horsepower that was close to 400, that doesn’t mean you should put the pedal to the metal every time you’re out on the road. Traveling at or below the speed limit can optimize your fuel efficiency, while speeding can reduce your vehicle’s mileage pretty significantly. By slowing down, you’ll make your money go farther and can reduce your emissions at the same time — all while staying safe and obeying the law.
Inflate Your Tires
Under-inflated tires can actually make your car less efficient to drive. Since tires with inadequate inflation won’t roll as easily, your vehicle will have to work harder to operate. Ultimately, that means it’ll burn more fuel — which is a problem for both your budget and for the environment. Improperly filled tires can also wear more quickly, which means you could end up paying for replacement sooner than you’d like. Keep an eye on your tire pressure and take the initiative to fill them if the reading is below your car’s suggested range.
Despite the fact that asphalt-paved driveways can last anywhere from 12 to 20 years, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to idle in yours in the morning. It might be tempting when the weather is cold, but it’s not a great idea for your car or for the planet. Statistics show that, for every 10 minutes of idling, your car releases a pound of carbon dioxide into the air. Keep in mind that restarting your car doesn’t actually waste fuel, so it’s more eco-friendly to turn your car off and on again than to idle in a parking lot or on the street.
Eliminate Extra Weight
Simply put, treating your car like a storage unit can cost you. Not only might it make your vehicle a tempting target for criminals, but it can also weigh down your car and make it a lot less eco-friendly. The heavier your car is, the more fuel you’ll use. Empty out your backseat and trunk to include only the essentials. This can help you save money on gas and ensure your vehicle isn’t releasing unnecessary emissions. Plus, you won’t have to worry about strange sounds from the back or potential damage.
Learn How to Fuel Up
You might not think that putting gas in your tank is all that complicated. But the way in which you fuel up could be impacting your car’s performance and overall environmental impact. Namely, you’ll want to resist the urge to top off your tank. It might seem like a harmless practice, but this can actually cause the escape of harmful vapors. You’ll also want to ensure your fuel cap is screwed on correctly, as a loose fuel cap could cause similar issues (and could make you think your vehicle is in need of maintenance).
Work From Home When Possible
Since the pandemic is still very much in full force, many employers are allowing staff members to work from home at least part of the time. This be of great benefit to the employer, as it can reduce overhead costs and help them avoid issues stemming from work-related injuries; since workers’ compensation laws are steadily changing, this can help businesses avoid certain legal issues altogether. It’s also good for employees who are often more productive at home and who can avoid potentially dangerous and tedious work commutes. What’s more, it’s great for the environment. With fewer cars on the road each day, it’s easy to reduce emissions. If you have the option of working from home at least a few days a week, this can reduce the strain on the planet, save your employer money, and free up a lot of your own personal time.
In the quest to become more eco-friendly, it often seems necessary to invest in an electric vehicle. But if that’s not in your budget right now, there are still ways to make your current car a bit more sustainable. By following these tips, you can feel better about your environmental impact without giving up an automobile you love.