According to a study done in 2015 by the Environmental Protection Agency, 27% of the United States’ total greenhouse grass emissions come from transportation. It’s only second to the electricity sector, which includes the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity, as one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. Included in the transportation sector is the use of cars, trucks, SUVs, commercial aircraft, ships, boats, and trains. The use of passenger cars, SUVs, minivans, pickup trucks, and the like accounts for over half of the sector’s emissions. Whether you believe in climate change or not, there’s no question that all the carbon people are producing is having a negative effect on the environment. As a driver, you can start reducing your carbon footprint by following these tips:
Upgrade your gasoline
One of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to switch to gasoline with better quality. In this case, better quality means higher octane level. Don’t settle for the cheapest gasoline available, which usually produces more carbon-based emissions. Filling your ride up with gasoline that has high octane levels has two benefits. One of which is its ability to create better combustion in the engine; the other is it helps keep your engine clean. Another thing you can do is use gasoline additives, which help keep your ride’s carburetor, intake valves, and ports clean. These components create carbon, so keeping them in good condition will help improve emission levels.
Change your oil and air filter as required
Another way to reduce carbon emissions is to change your engine oil and air filter regularly or according to manufacturer recommendations. Driving around with dirty engine oil and faulty air filter causes more smog and emissions, so it’s best that you change them regularly. This will not only help reduce your carbon footprint, but will also allow your vehicle to run more efficiently. Air filters need to be changed every 10,000 to 20,000 miles, while engine oil should be changed every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. However, the intervals may change depending on your vehicle’s make and model as well as your driving habits. Proper instructions and schedules can be found in your owner’s manual.
Your emission levels vary depending on your driving habits, so it’s best to know which habits cause emissions to increase or decrease. Things such as unnecessary idling and hard accelerations use more fuel, hence more emissions. If you plan to stop for more than 10 seconds, it’s better to turn off your vehicle than to leave it idling. Also avoid jack-rabbit starts since they contribute to your carbon footprint and also wear down your vehicle.
Other things you can do include travelling light and minimizing your use of the A/C, although these are a bit harder to follow. Always organize your cargo, so that everything fits inside with enough room for you and passengers. If possible, avoid placing things on the roof, so your ride maintains an aerodynamic profile for maximum fuel economy. Lessen your A/C use during the winter months or open a window while cruising if the weather is pleasant enough.
Reduce your driving time
One sure-fire way to reduce your carbon footprint is to lessen your time spent on the road. This can range from planning your route to complete abandonment of your vehicle (only on days when it is possible, of course). If you can plan all your errands ahead of time and avoid traffic, then you can significantly reduce your driving time. Additionally, you shouldn’t pack your schedule too much that you’re speeding from one place to the next. Driving fast will also mean more acceleration and braking, which naturally produce more emissions. Finally, if you can, abandon the idea of using your vehicle altogether and choose to walk or take the bus or train to your destination.
These are just some of the things you can do to help the environment. You may think that doing these things won’t make much of an impact, but remember that change starts with every individual.