About 30% of environmental pollution in the U.S. comes from the transportation industry (1). With the fast-growing concerns over the state of the environment, it’s important to do your part by investing in an eco-friendly car. But what is an eco-friendly car?
An eco-friendly car emits low carbon compounds when running. Emitting less of these compounds makes the environment safer since by reducing changes in climate and health hazards caused by the inhalation of carbon compounds.
If you don’t own or can’t afford a vehicle that is optimized for minimum environmental impact, don’t fret. There are several ways to make the car you already have better for the environment.
Limit AC Usage
Compared to houses, there are not that much energy-saving gadgets (e.g. Google Nest Learning Thermostat) for cars. During the hot months, there’s always the urge to indulge in some ice-cold air conditioning. Unfortunately, using a vehicle’s air conditioning system isn’t great for the planet. It can increase fuel consumption by up to 20%, thanks to the extra load on the engine (2).
According to Dennis Smith, National Clean Cities Director,
running your car’s air conditioning is the main contributor to reduced fuel economy in hot weather… AC use can reduce a conventional vehicle’s fuel economy by more than 25%(C.A.R. Clinic of Westfield, Inc.)
The actual engine load depends on several factors, including the car’s interior size and the outdoor temperature.The air conditioning system increases the strain on your vehicle’s electrical system, which results in the engine working harder to compensate.
The harder the engine works, the higher the fuel consumption. Hence, it’s advisable to avoid using the AC system as much as possible. Consider rolling down the windows to let air in and keep cool during the hot weather.
There’s debate about whether rolling down windows increases aerodynamic drag to the extent of impacting fuel efficiency (3). It’s safe to assume that the drag doesn’t undermine fuel efficiency as much as the AC would when driving around town at moderate speeds. At highway speeds, however, you should keep your windows up to ensure air flows more freely over your car.
If you must use the AC system, then at least make sure that the system refrigerants and pressure are at the right levels. A poorly maintained system is less efficient than a well-maintained one.
Aggressive driving is one of the major causes of poor fuel economy. Speeding, hasty acceleration, slamming the brakes, and rapid or jerky movements make a vehicle burn more fuel than necessary.
Research shows that aggressive driving can decrease your fuel economy by approximately 15 to 30% at freeway speeds and 10 to 40% in urban traffic (4). You might want to invest in driver feedback devices, which can promote efficient driving.
According to a 2018 study by the National Center for Sustainable Transportation, instantaneous or in-vehicle feedback influences driver behavior and improves fuel economy by 6.6% on average (5). Driver feedback devices deliver real-time feedback and alerts to drivers when they speed, accelerate or brake quickly, or perform hard turns, among other things. Additionally, these devices monitor fuel consumption and efficiency and can give reports that highlight areas of concern for individual drivers.
Related: Is E15 Gasoline Harmful for Your Car?
Replace Your Air Filter
A worn air filter makes your car take in foreign particles and impurities, which affect its efficiency. Additionally, replacing your clogged air filter could save up to 10% on your vehicle’s mileage (6).
Do a simple calculation – calculate the amount of money you spend on fuel every week and adjust the figure downwards by 10%. Multiply the adjusted figure by four weeks. You’ll realize you can save so much money every month that you can spend on other important stuff.
The good thing about changing your air filter is that it’s a simple DIY job – you don’t need to pay a mechanic to change it for you. If you don’t know where to start, there are many tutorials online on how to change your car’s air filter.
Eco-friendly cars can help reduce the detrimental effects of pollution on our planet, but not everyone can afford a new car. Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce the carbon footprint of traditional cars.
Some of the most effective ways include limiting the AC system usage, avoiding aggressive driving, and changing the air filter regularly. Try these methods to make your car more eco-friendly and help conserve the environment.
In addition, if you own a vehicle that demands an extra amount of energy and fossil fuels like a RV, consider adding things like the best RV solar kit of the year to bring down your usage totals drastically.
Then you can visit our homepage here for our full list of energy-reducing tips.