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How to reduce your carbon car print

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

Reader Interactions


  1. Hikermom says

    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!

  2. Lori Popkewitz Alper says

    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.

  3. Tonja says

    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 says

    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.

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