6 Things You Can Do as a Driver to Protect the Planet


Did you know that the transportation sector is one of the leading contributors to climate change? In fact, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, it’s responsible for nearly a third of all greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.


Luckily, there are things we can do as drivers to help reduce our carbon footprint and make an environmental difference, as the fate of our planet lies squarely in our hands.


Here are six ways you can make your driving habits more eco-friendly as well as some of the most popular electric vehicles on the road today.

#1 – Take Advantage of Carpooling, Ride-Sharing, and Public Transportation

Carpooling, ride-sharing, and taking public transportation are great ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Not only do you save on gas, but you also cut down on emissions by reducing the number of cars on the road.


If you live in a city, consider taking public transportation or riding your bike to work. And if you have to drive, carpooling is a great way to save on gas and reduce emissions. You can even try ride-sharing services, like Uber or Lyft.


UberPool and LyftLine are two popular options that match you with other riders going in the same direction. This way, you can split the fare and help reduce traffic congestion and pollution at the same time.


Plus, carpooling and ride-sharing are great ways to meet new people and make some new friends.

#2 – Don’t Idle Your Car for More Than a Minute or Two — Turn It Off Instead

We’ve all been there: You’re running late for an appointment and you find yourself idling in your car, waiting for the traffic to clear. But did you know that idling your car for more than a minute or two is actually bad for both your engine and the environment?


Not only does it waste gas, but it also emits twice as many harmful pollutants, like carbon monoxide, into the air. So next time you find yourself idling, turn off your engine and enjoy the peace and quiet. Your wallet (and the planet) will thank you.


Plus, if you’re in a state that has an “idle law,” you could be fined for leaving your car running for too long. It’s best to play it safe and turn off your engine when you’re not driving.

#3 – Don’t Use Your Car as a Storage Locker — Get Rid of Unnecessary Items That Take Up Space and Add Weight


Do you really need that extra set of golf clubs taking up space in your trunk? Or those boxes of clothes you’re never going to wear again?


If you have items in your car that you don’t use on a regular basis, it’s time to get rid of them. Not only will this free up some much-needed space, but it will also reduce the weight of your car, and a lighter car means better gas mileage and fewer emissions.


So clean out your trunk and get rid of anything you don’t need: Your car (and the planet) will thank you. Of course, if those things end up in your home, you might be interested in learning how to become an eco-friendly homeowner as well.

#4 – Make Sure Your Tires Are Properly Inflated to Improve Gas Mileage

Under-inflated tires can negatively impact your gas mileage by up to 3%. That may not seem like much, but it can add up over time. Not to mention, it’s bad for your tires and can shorten their lifespan.


So make sure you check your tire pressure regularly and inflate them to the proper level. You can usually find the recommended tire pressure in your car’s owner’s manual or on the placard located on your car’s driver-side door.


And while you’re at it, make sure your tires are properly aligned. This will help improve your gas mileage and keep your tires from wearing down prematurely.


Properly inflated and aligned tires are not only good for your car, but they’re also good for the environment: It’s a win-win situation.

#5 – Plan Out Your Trips to Avoid Backtracking and Wasting Fuel

Do you find yourself making a lot of unnecessary trips? Maybe you’re running errands and you realize you forgot something at home. Or maybe you’re driving to work and realize you forgot your phone.


Either way, backtracking is a waste of time and fuel. So next time you’re planning a trip, make a list of everything you need to do and try to group together errands that are in the same area. This way you can avoid wasting time (and gas) by making unnecessary trips. Lowering your mileage can even lower your insurance premiums.


And if you have a long trip planned, consider breaking it up into smaller trips. This way you can avoid sitting in traffic for hours on end and burning through a tank of gas.

#6 – Invest in a Hybrid or Electric Car

If you’re in the market for a new car, consider investing in a hybrid or electric vehicle. These cars are more fuel-efficient than traditional gas-powered cars and they emit far fewer pollutants.


Plus, many states offer incentives for buying hybrid or electric cars, such as tax breaks or rebates. So it’s definitely worth doing your research to see if you could save some money on your purchase.


And as electric cars become more popular, the infrastructure will continue to improve. This means more charging stations and better batteries. 


Some of the most popular electric vehicles include:


  • The Tesla Model S
  • The Chevrolet Bolt EV
  • The Nissan Leaf
  • The BMW i series
  • The Volkswagen e-Golf


These are just a few of the many hybrid and electric cars on the market. Do your research and find the one that’s right for you.

Ready to protect the planet?

Now that you know how to be a more eco-friendly driver, it’s time to put these tips into practice. Every little bit helps when it comes to protecting the planet. 


Your car choices and driving habits can have a big impact on the environment. By following these tips, you can help reduce your carbon footprint and do your part to protect the planet.



Luke Williams writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, BuyAutoInsurance.com. His passions include insurance and caring for our planet.


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