Cars often become the main topic of conversation when people mention going green. They’re something people use every day that makes life easier. You can live farther from work, get places faster and experience more independence. They’re also a major way people contribute to climate change.
Even if you drive a hybrid car, it still uses fossil fuels. Burning natural gas adds CO2 to the atmosphere, but you don’t have to rely on a vehicle for all of your transportation needs.
Check out how you can help the environment by driving less. After you learn a few tips and tricks, you’ll have new ways to give back to the earth and make it a better place.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
The first step to making any change in life is learning more about what you’re currently doing. Think about your lifestyle and use a carbon footprint calculator to determine how much pollution you create with your current driving habits.
The number may seem low to you if you only use your car for work or school. There are plenty of other reasons to drive more frequently, but you might believe you don’t drive as much as other people you know. The typical car emits 4.6 metric tons per year, which is the equivalent of 11,500 miles in 12 months.
Every bit of CO2 warms the earth and harms everything that lives on the planet, so even if you feel good about how often you drive, it’s still contributing to the problem.
Support People With Respiratory Illnesses
You can also reduce your driving to support people with respiratory illnesses. When you drive through crowded city streets or around pedestrians, you risk triggering their breathing challenges. Car pollution exacerbates asthma symptoms and episodes, but not everyone can move to a smaller city or town to get away from cars. When you drive less, you’re making the streets a safer place for anyone with a chronic breathing condition.
Weaken the Oil Industry
Every year, the U.S. consumes 7.28 billion barrels of oil, or 19.96 million barrels every day. This oil fuels all the automobiles in the nation, as well as planes, factories, plants and more. Every time you stop at a gas station, you fund the crude oil industry. Oilfields alone produce 1.7 gigatons of CO2 each year worldwide, which doesn’t include the pollution that comes from burning the oil once it reaches consumers.
Using your car less is one way to weaken the oil and gas industry further. Instead, you can invest your money into carbon-offsetting programs or other green lifestyle changes to lessen your impact on the planet.
Use an Electric Bike
Sometimes people lose their determination to drive less because they think walking is the only other option. You don’t have to trek miles in the rain to work, school or social activities to avoid polluting the atmosphere. There are always other options to consider, like an electric bike.
More people than ever are using electric bikes to find their way around. They’re more compact than traditional bikes, so they’re easier to store. You can also exercise with one if you’d like, but you can also use the electric motor to navigate bike paths, sidewalks and empty streets.
Scott Kramer, electric bike expert, had his own revelation regarding biking in 2019. He was hesitant to use his car less because his family was so busy, but he found that his electric bike made life easier and travel faster compared to the hours he spent in the driver’s seat.
“I can avoid most red lights, take back roads and not have to worry about parking,” he says in an interview with Juiced Bikes. “Although I hit the brakes when it happens, it easily achieves 35 mph going downhill. I consider this an upgrade from my car, of which I drove only 3,700 miles last year.”
Try Public Transportation
If you live in a large city with busy streets and sidewalks, you may not feel comfortable riding a bike around town during rush hour. You can always use public transportation for situations where you can’t bike or walk.
Individuals who use public transportation like buses, subways or trains reduce their CO2 pollution by 4,800 pounds each year. Research the public transportation options in your city, which may include vehicles powered by green energy.
Evaluate All of Your Options
There are many ways you can help the environment, and every little bit helps. Getting rid of your car or driving less might seem like a tall task, but there are plenty of options to make it doable and worthwhile.