Gwen Leron: 50 Shades of Green


10 Ways to Make Your Car Eco-Friendly

And Most of Them Are Free

Cars and eco-friendliness—two things that don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand. But, by making a few changes to the way we maintain and drive our cars, we can reduce emissions and save gas.

Here are 10 easy things you can do to make your car go a little easier on the environment:

Keep your car properly maintained

Getting regular tune-ups is so important when it comes to keeping your car running well and efficient. A properly maintained car will release fewer emissions and use less gas.

Keep your tires properly inflated

Keeping your tires properly inflated is not only a safety issue, it will also improve your gas mileage. Not sure what the proper pressure is for your tires? Check out this step-by-step guide. Still not comfortable doing it on your own? Get your mechanic to do it each time you visit or ask him/her to show you how.

Buy eco-friendly tires

Yes, there is such a thing, and I outlined what you need to know about eco-friendly tires here.

Keep less “stuff” in your car

Keeping extra items in your car is not fuel efficient. The simple rule is that the heavier your car is, the more gas it will use. Remove any unnecessary items from your car (this includes roof and bicycle racks) to keep your ride as light as possible.

Don't idle

Avoid idling by turn your car off when you are parked for longer than one minute.

Make smoother accelerations

Avoid slamming on the gas when you accelerate. Instead, accelerate to speed gradually to lessen fuel consumption.

Use eco-cleaning products to clean your car

When cleaning the interior and exterior of your car, be sure to always buy eco-cleaning products. They are available at most stores and cost almost the same as the not-so-green cleaners.

Use your air conditioner less

Unless it’s unbearably hot, roll down the windows. You car’s air conditioning system is powered by gas—a lot of gas. Try parking in shaded areas to keep your car cool or buy a sun shade for when parking in non-shaded areas.

It’s true that when driving on the highway, rolled down windows will produce “drag” (the air resistance cars encounter when moving) and will use up more gas. For hot-day-highway-driving, use the air conditioner in spurts and utilize your car’s fan to make the coolness last a little longer.

Use local transit or car pool

The best way to make your car eco-friendly is to not use it. Get together with co-workers in your area and organize a car-pool schedule that works for everyone. Live in the Toronto area? Check out the Shuttle Challenge.

Consider a hybrid car the next time you buy

Hybrid cars produce lower emissions, require less oil changes, use less gas, and are just better for the environment than a regular car. Hybrids will save you money in the long run, but they come with a higher up-front sticker price. Some provinces offer a rebate for hybrid buyers, check your provincial government’s website for info. If a hybrid is not in the budget, consider a used car.

Do you already use any of these tips? Do you have any to add?