Our cars aren’t flying yet—we’re looking at you, Elon Musk—but they’re getting more efficient by the year. From electric cars to a greater awareness of our environmental impact, we’re doing better at reducing our footprint.
When it comes to making your car more green, what are your options? Especially when you don’t have the budget to buy a hybrid or electric vehicle? Are there ways you can still lessen your impact?
Luckily for you, there are many tactics—some simple, some a little more complex. Not only do they make your car eco-friendlier, but they also save you gas money and prolong your car’s longevity.
We’re here to discuss driving habits, carpooling, gas selection, and more!
Let’s get started.
1. Check Your Tire Pressure
The Energy Department states that properly-inflated tires can increase your fuel efficiency by more than 3%.
That means that both under- or overinflating your tires equals a greater need for more gas stops. Underinflated tires have to work harder, burning more fuel. And fuel economy has an effect on the world and your wallet.
To solve this problem, check your PSI. Even an inexpensive tire gauge will do the trick. Check your tires when you gas up, or at the least, once a month.
Those who want to get super efficient can even consider filling tires with nitrogen. Unlike air, it leaks slower, which maintains proper pressure even longer.
2. Consider Carpooling
Have you ever considered talking to your coworkers about their routes to work? Does your child go to school with someone from the same neighborhood? Are you and your friend driving across town to hang out?
Then ditch the redundancy of two vehicles. If you see an opportunity to carpool, try it out.
Offer to take someone’s child to school with yours every other day. The other parent can alternate days. Ride with your coworker to work. Rather than taking a bunch of cars to an event, hire an Uber XL.
Carpooling reduces carbon emissions, air pollution, and lessens pesky traffic. It also gives us a chance to reconnect and foster relationships.
3. Forgo the Windows and A/C When Possible
Rolled-down windows don’t make the hugest impact on your fuel efficiency, but the tiny threat is still there. Even more so, we’re looking at you, A/C unit!
This will have the greatest effect on those who are chronic A/C users. Or those who keep the A/C cranked up to maximum output. Or those who use A/C while their windows are down.
If possible, try to minimize your A/C usage. This saves your car some effort and also some fuel. The Society of Automotive Engineers claims that running your air conditioner can result in a 5-10% decrease in gas mileage.
4. Alter Your Driving Behavior
Do you have a “lead foot”? Are you a pedal-to-the-metal type of driver? Do you perform frequent stops and starts?
If so, you’re not only ruining your fuel efficiency, your erratic driving could put you at risk for an accident.
By improving your driving behavior alone, you could decrease your fuel use by 5-10%. This—combined with proper tire pressure and minimal A/C use—and you could be on your way to one green car!
Next time you’re driving, check in with your etiquette. Take off slowly, stop at a reasonable distance, and avoid braking hard and swift. This could all impact your fuel efficiency.
5. Lessen the Weight
It only makes sense that the more weight you’re pulling, the harder your car will have to work.
Do you frequently tow trailers, an RV, or the like? Do you drive around with a stuffed trunk and a full load? The more weight you’ve got to tow around, the more fuel you’re going to use.
This small but measurable change will become more obvious the more miles you drive.
To test your vehicle’s efficiency, take note of your gas fill-ups now and then again after reducing your weight. Over time, you’ll see how much less often you’re having to fill up.
6. Service Your Radiator
Your radiator needs to work smarter, not harder.
A radiator is a component of the cooling system that regulates your car’s temperature. It prevents your car from being too hot or too cold, keeping it in that happy medium. An un-serviced radiator could mean an overheated vehicle.
Check your radiator fuel often when the vehicle is cool. Check that it’s at the recommended fluid level for your vehicle. Keep an eye on your temperature gauge when you drive, ensuring that it’s in the middle.
Like many things mentioned so far, the harder your car must work, the less efficient it is. This is part of routine maintenance that can prolong your car’s—and the environment’s—life.
Speaking of maintenance. . .
Let’s touch on our last point, the importance of tune-ups.
7. Make Regular Tune-Ups a Thing
Sometimes life gets in the way and we forget to take care of our cars. We tend to put them on the back burner, only paying them their due diligence in the event of an emergency.
Instead, practice preventative maintenance!
Many things get overlooked during servicing: power steering. Brakes and fluids. Your cooling system, air filters, and more. By now we’ve learned that keeping these things fine-tuned is very important and helps keep your car in working order.
Make regular check-ups a date in your calendar. You won’t regret it.
Making Your Car More Eco-Friendly One Step at a Time
Now you know our favorite tips and tricks for keeping your car as green as possible.
It doesn’t take much. Simple things like maintenance and better driving etiquette reduce impact and increase your car’s life.
When it comes to making your car eco-friendly, routine maintenance is a huge factor. But there’s actually a ton of other advantages to getting regular check-ups.
Here are 6 long-term benefits you won’t be able to ignore!