Three Simple Ways To Minimize Your Car’s Carbon Footprint

Although it’s easy to drool over the lastest magnificent, sustainable four-wheeled creation on the market . . . many of us are still saddled to gas-only transportation. In fact, one fifth of all U.S. emissions come from personal vehicles, with 24 pounds of carbon dioxide polluting the air for every gallon of gas we use, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. While change will be a slow and messy evolution, there are little hacks and tricks everyone can follow to help throw their drop in the bucket for a cleaner world.

1. Keep the Maintenance Low

It seems like simple common sense, but in the hustle and bustle of daily life, too many of us ignore the “check engine” light or skip out on suggested oil changes for the sheer inconvenience of them. “Hypermiling” is a term used by cost-conscious and earth-friendly devotees to refer to making the most out of every drop of gasoline. Fuel-efficiency, although sensationalized by the media in 2015, has been a big deal for a long time. In fact, back in 2007, Mother Jones reported on a contest that urges drivers to squeeze the most out of their tanks. Wayne Gedes knows the drill, as he has earned the title of “Most Fuel Efficient Driver in the World.” One of the first things Gedes notes about maximizing fuel efficiency is jettisoning everything that ways you down. In fact, he even remarked to Mother Jones that one of his main motivations for losing 60 lbs is to reduce the drag on his car.

2. Don’t Get Tired of Tires

Tires don’t seem like a big deal until one of them breaks, however they have a monumental effect on both your safety and your carbon footprint on the road. The buoyancy and tread of tires can make a major difference in your efficiency, environmental footprint and safety. Both insurance companies and car accident lawyers are no strangers to tire-related crashes. USA Today reports that more than 11,000 crashes per year are caused by improperly maintained tires, including more than 200 deaths. Death seems a high price to pay for poorly inflated tires, but that’s the worst case scenario. Inflating and maintaining your tires doesn’t only help keep you safe, it can reduce your gas mileage and carbon emissions by up to three percent. That may not sound like much initially, but when you think about how many gallons of carbon dioxide are pumped into the air-- it makes sense to think about the air you decide to pump.

3. Filter Your Dirty Engine

An automobile’s air filter is arguably something driver’s think even less about than daily tire pressure, although it is an important part of doing your part. A car’s air filter acts like the car’s lungs. If the car is exposed to dirty conditions like dust, storms or dirt roads. Even a high-pollution day can cause an overload of stress on a car’s filter and slow down the function and circulatory system of any car, which ultimately causes damage to many internal systems-- including fuel economy. Similar to mowing dusty grass, says WikiHow, a car’s filter will pick up any dust or debris in the air and build up, causing drag on many other systems of the car.

3 Remove Roof Cargo and Excess Weight

Hauling large items on your car’s roof can reduce fuel usage by two to eight percent, and up to 25 percent while driving on the highway or interstate, making it a good idea to pay attention to how you haul. Feuleconomy.Gov reports that using a back-mounted storage bin is optimal, and removing roof bins when not in use is an extremely simple way to give the environment a high-five. Furthermore, it isn’t just outside cargo that can reduce your fuel economy, but the weight you keep inside your car as well. Every 100 pounds removed from your car can increase fuel by more than a percent.

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