Air quality is a concern for all, and unfortunately, on-road motor vehicles are one of the largest contributors to air pollution in urban areas. It’s typical that your car you drive is the largest impact you make on the earth.
You may find yourself asking if your specific vehicle is polluting the air, and what you can to do combat it. While many can’t ditch the car completely and bike or walk everywhere, there are plenty of things you can personally do to help limit air pollution. That starts with the vehicle you drive, and continues with how you drive it.
There are some cars that are simply better than others in terms of air pollution, typically because their tailpipe emissions are low or they use less oil and cleaner fuel. A more fuel-efficient car can not only help the environment, because it burns less fuel, meaning less carbon dioxide and pollution is added to the air, but that can help you save money as well.
When selecting a new car, inquire about how environmentally-friendly it is. You may also want to do some research before even visiting a car dealership. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a great place to start. They offer a green vehicle guide that not only helps you understand what to look for, but can help you see exactly how the car you are looking at stacks up.
The SmartWay Vehicle program is another easy way to choose an environmentally-friendly vehicle. Each year, the EPA rates every new vehicle for greenhouse gas and smog-forming emissions and offer SmartWay certificates to the top 20 percent cleanest and lowest emitting vehicles. If your vehicle choice has a SmartWay certificate, you can be certain you’re making a great choice.
Some of the best environmentally-friendly car choices include:
- Toyota Prius
- Chevrolet Equinox
- Honda Civic Hybrid
- Nissan Leaf
- Kia Sorento
- BMW X3
- Lexus CT 200h
What you Can Do Now
If you’re not in the market for a new car right now, you can still make a positive impact on the environment. A few tweaks to how you drive can make all the difference. Try following these green driving tips:
- Try not to slam on your brakes
- Avoid fast or hard acceleration
- Use cruise control when possible
- Drive the speed limit
- Don’t let your car idle for more than 30 seconds, if possible
- Take the most direct route to your destination
- Carpool if possible
- Keep your car clear of clutter, to reduce the weight
- Keep tires inflated to manufacturer-recommended pressure