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How to reduce your carbon car print

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Reducing your carbon car print

While in Detroit a few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to meet some amazing green bloggers (Anna- Green Talk, Tiffany - Nature Moms, Jenn- The Green Parent and Diane- Big Green Purse), who are all part of the Green Moms Carnival, where their mission is to to unite bloggy voices around one environmentally-conscious theme per month, knowing that by repeating the same green messages it increases the likelihood that their eco-conscious messages will be heard, understood, and adopted by more people. Of course, when I heard of all the green good they do, I just had to jump on board and become a member of this not-so-secret green club.

This month, the Green Moms Carnival will be sharing their thoughts on Resolutions to Fight Climate Change. The carnival is hosted this month by Amber over at Strocel.com. The carnival goes live Monday, January 23, 2012.  Be sure to stop by for lots of great information on ways we can all fight climate change together and make a difference one green step at a time.

Everyone needs to get from point A to point B and sometimes C, but how you get there can either impact the environment positively or negatively. This year I am going to be working hard on reducing our car emissions.

You might be wondering how we plan on doing this?  The first thing is quite simple: walk and bike more for short trips and drive less. If these are not options for you, considering taking public transit or car sharing to lessen your impact. I have a few tricks up my green sleeve to help you along your travels. The following actions can help reduce your greenhouse gas emissions, reduce our dependence on oil and save money.

  1. Keep your car serviced. By taking proper care of your car, you will also extend it’s life, increase its resale value, and optimize its “gas mileage” or fuel economy. This will not only save you money down the road, but help to keep your car running smoothly and lessen your footprint.
  2. Drive with the windows closed- this reduces drag on the vehicle. But try to only use the AC when you need it. This seems like a catch 22. I guess you go with what you feel is right. You don’t want to hurt yourself by not keeping cool.
  3. Turn your car off if you think you will be stationary for more than 30 seconds. You will save gas by turning the engine off and restarting it again and prevent pollution by avoiding long idles. When going to the bank, restaurants etc. park your car to avoid idling in the drive-up lanes.
  4. Did you know that idling for long periods in cold weather can actually cause excessive engine wear? I didn’t. So, you are better off starting your car and driving.
  5. Check your tire pressure regularly and you can save 400-700 pounds of CO2 per year. Failure to maintain the correct air pressure can result in poor gas mileage, reduce tire life, affect vehicle handling, and cause vehicle overloading. According to the EPA, under-inflation increases tire wear, reduces your fuel economy by up to 3 percent and leads to higher greenhouse gas emissions and releases of air pollutants. Simply add it to your routine when filling up your car every other time.
  6. Traffic is not always avoidable, but if you can plan your trip outside of rush hour and peak travel time you will avoid “stopping and going.” Sudden accelerating or braking, and revving your engine can use up to 30% more fuel and increase wear and tear of the vehicle.
  7. The more you have in the car- the more your engine works. Therefore, more energy is being used. Keep your car light, and only have stuff in it you really need to help with your fuel economy.

Driving a car is not always avoidable. By applying some or all of these suggestions, you will not only reduce CO2 gas emissions, but save money! Everyone wants to save money, no?  And, the best part is that it will help keep our planet healthy and our air clean for years to come.

What will you do to reduce your emissions?

Sources: Environmental Protection Agency

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MEDICAL DISCLOSURE: The information included on this website is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions expressed here are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for your own situation or if you have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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18 Responses to How to reduce your carbon car print

  1. Hikermom January 21, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

    This is definitely motivating me to walk my son to and from school instead of driving. We only live about a half mile away. Thanks for the info!

    • Good Girl Gone Green January 21, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

      That is so great! If you can’t commit to walking everyday, just try a few days a week, and see how you feel! :)

  2. Lori Popkewitz Alper January 21, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

    I live in an area where driving is a must. I’ve noticed that all of the schools have a “no idling” sign posted. I make a point to turn my car off after 30 seconds of not moving-unless I’m on the highway in traffic! Glad Detroit was a big hit. Thanks for all the great tips.

    • Good Girl Gone Green January 21, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

      That is so neat that schools have “no idling” signs! Detroit was so awesome! Thanks, Lori!

  3. Tonja January 21, 2012 at 10:45 pm #

    Out here in the country it’s harder to reduce your driving when everything is 20 minutes to an hour away from you, so I try to plan as many errands at one time as I can. That way I don’t have to keep going out for multiple things!

  4. Theresa January 21, 2012 at 10:57 pm #

    These are great tips! I didn’t know the one about your car being heavy causing engine wear. I try to use my car as efficiently as possible. I love my Prius and work hard to keep the mpg up. I’m going to take the junk out of it this weekend.

  5. Brooke January 22, 2012 at 12:15 am #

    I’ve found speed makes a difference in fuel efficiency. I do a lot of interstate driving and the speed limit is 70mph (which means the of traffic is about 80) and I also track my gas and mileage. What I’ve found is that if I go the speed limit or a little slower, I get more miles to a gallon than if I’m pushing 80. It’s worth taking the time to find the most efficient speed for your car and trying to stick to that whenever possible.

    Plus, as an added bonus, I’ve found that I just make up my mind to stay in the slow lane and keep my speed down, I usually get less stressed out.

    • Good Girl Gone Green January 22, 2012 at 12:34 am #

      Great idea. Forgot about that one! Good for you for finding a way to save some money and be kind to the planet!

  6. All Natural Katie January 23, 2012 at 9:13 am #

    Great tips! I always wait to get run several errands together and then I plan my route to be the most efficient one.

  7. Good Girl Gone Green January 23, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

    Thanks!! :)

  8. Good Girl Gone Green January 23, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

    Thank you so much!

  9. 'Becca January 27, 2012 at 10:49 am #

    I don’t think keeping the windows up but minimizing AC is much of a catch-22. In hot weather we just put our fan on the highest setting, and after a few minutes with the windows down we’re able to put them up. For long road trips, we dress lightly, bring jackets to put on when stopping at air-conditioned places, and bring plenty of drinking water!

    Here is our real-life hybrid car experience for anyone who’s interested! The fuel savings haven’t been quite as much as we’d hoped, but we really like the car.

  10. Christine January 30, 2012 at 3:05 am #

    I love everything on your blog! Thanks for the great tips! One thing we’ve also tried to do is get all our stuff situated, the seat belts on, the car in the correct gear (manual transmission), etc. and THEN turn the car on. It’s amazing how many little things we usually do after the car is running. Also, thanks for linking up at the Super Sunday Stumble! -Christine

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I'm Stephanie, the Good Girl Gone Green, and I'm excited to share my own experiences with learning to live a greener, healthier life!

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