The biggest net contributors to climate change are on-road transportation and raising animals for consumption, or in other words: Meat and Wheels. In a previous article we briefly tackled the issue of reducing meat intake so now let’s focus on what we can do to reduce carbon emissions as a result of our going from place to place. Going green means sustainable living, even while we’re on-the-go.
1. Walk it. The most obvious way of reducing our carbon footprint is to walk. If it’s just a short distance, why not just walk it instead of driving there? Or take the stairs instead of the elevator if it’s just a few flights.
2. Bike it. Bike to the grocery or the bank or to do other errands. Just make sure your bike is properly maintained and always wear a helmet to avoid accidents.
3. Carpool. If you and a neighbor are going in the same direction, why not discuss carpool options? Not only do you cut carbon emissions and fuel consumption by at least half (by a third if there are three of you carpooling!), you also make more friends!
4. Public transportation. There’s still a lot of room for improvement with regards to our country’s public transport system, especially their emissions. But commuting is still a better option compared to taking a private vehicle.
5. Be a green driver. If you must drive to your destination, take the following tips into consideration to make sure that your vehicle is emitting the least amount of carbon. Other than doing your part in helping the environment, you will also lower your annual fuel bills, take better care of your vehicle, and enjoy a safer travel.
6. Always maintain your vehicle. Having your vehicle serviced regularly ensures that it will run as efficiently as possible. Examples of how a poorly maintained vehicle does its damage: a badly performing engine can’t use fuel efficiently, an ill-fitting petrol cap allows petrol to evaporate, clogged air filters and under-pressurized tires increase fuel consumption.
7. Plan your route wisely. This avoids circum-navigatory trips, congested areas, and even sometimes getting lost. Combine errands whenever possible to save trips and time.
8. Turn on the engine at the last possible second. Change the misconception that one needs to “warm up” the engine. This is an old idea stemming from old cars with non fuel-injection engines and less efficient parts. Particularly in a tropical country like ours where it never gets cold to the point of freezing oil or clogging up engine parts, there’s absolutely no need to warm up a car engine before driving off.
9. Gas up at colder temperatures. Gasoline expands so when you gas up during hotter temperatures, you get less gas for the same amount of money. No point in wasting money! Gas up during early in the morning or at night.
10. Minimize idling. If your vehicle will be stopped for more than two minutes, turn off your engine. Idling causes more carbon emissions, increases engine wear, may damage the catalytic converter, and decreases fuel efficiency.
11. Watch your speed. Vehicle emissions are at their lowest between 60 to 100 kilometers per hour. If you are able to drive within these speeds, you can reach up to 30% in fuel savings.
12. Accelerate and decelerate slower. Fuel wastage can also be kept to a minimum by accelerating smoothly and braking gradually. Putting your foot down full on the accelerator burns as much as 50% more gas than a relatively smooth start while dragging your brakes can decrease fuel efficiency by as much as 40% and wears down brake shoes prematurely. Also, this makes for a much safer journey. Another smart tip is to take your foot off the accelerator early but remain in gear when slowing down or driving downhill. Take advantage of the car’s momentum. You will be able to reduce fuel flow to almost zero by doing so.Reduce drag.Avoid carrying unnecessary weight in your trunk and even accessories such as bike racks and roof racks. These significantly affect your car’s aerodynamics and cause higher fuel usage. Just remove such attachments when not in use.Smart gear shifting. Use the overdrive and high gears for better fuel efficiency. Change gears as soon as possible.
There are many alternatives to going green while-on-the-go. As much as you can, try walking, biking or taking public transportation. If you must drive a car, consider the tips above on how to reduce carbon emissions. Sustainable living means taking small, everyday steps at home, in the way we shop and in the way we commute.
Check out these other articles on going green: Going Green: Baby Steps Parents can Take to Have an Eco-Friendly Home (Part 1 of 4)Going Green: Change Begins with Your Eco Friendly Home (part 2 of 4)Going Green: Eco Friendly Shopping (part 3 of 4)