In honor of Earth Day on April 22, we wanted to take a moment and offer a few quick tips to help you drive green. Whether it's reducing your carbon footprint or decreasing harmful emissions, take some time this month to think about ways you can improve the environment through your driving habits.
As a tribute to this earth we love so much, here are 10 tips to drive green:
1. Carpool and plan errands ahead of time
The environmental benefits of carpooling have been well-documented. The Oregon Department of Transportation estimates the average commuter spends an additional 39 minutes every day on the road – time that adds up to hundreds (or thousands) of dollars in gas every year. Carpooling saves the planet by reducing gas emissions, reducing car congestion on highways and reducing personal transportation costs. Likewise, planning your errands ahead of time saves miles spent on the road. Rather than heading out the door with a vague idea of what you need from what store, take a few minutes to plan your trip and to write down a list. This saves you from going to extra stores and from making multiple trips throughout the week. Again, saving money and reducing pollution.
2. Maintain the cooling system
When your cooling system is functioning incorrectly, the engine runs at the wrong temperature. Whether too hot or too cold, this lowers your car's fuel efficiency. With proper cooling system maintenance – scheduled coolant flushes, keeping up with repairs and regular leak checks – your car can run more smoothly. This saves gas, reduces emissions and lowers the amount of oil used throughout the year. Luckily, Christian Brothers Automotive offers a cooling system check with every courtesy inspection. When you bring your car in for service, we'll check to make sure the entire cooling system is operating at maximum efficiency.
3. Properly inflate your tires
If every American drove on properly inflated tires, the Car Care Council estimates we could save around two billion gallons of gas each year. When tires are under-inflated, your engine has to work harder just to move the car. This increases fuel use and the risk for engine damage. To check the proper level of tire pressure, look to your owner's manual or make a quick call to your local Christian Brothers Automotive.
4. Replace old air filters
The air filter is responsible for filtering outside contaminants to keep the air inside your car pure and clean. When your air filter clogs with bugs, dirt and debris, it works overtime to provide fresh, clean air. This not only allows pollution into your car, but increases strain on the engine. The result is more gas needed for lower engine performance. Fortunately, changing your air filter is a quick and easy process. If you notice the air in your car feeling a bit stale or your engine straining to accelerate, schedule a maintenance check. An old, worn out air filter could be to blame.
5. Don't overfill or try to "top-off" your gas tank
When the nozzle shuts off during a fill-up, it does so for a reason! The gasoline coming from the pump into your car is a condensed version of itself. As your car drives, the gasoline needs room to expand and turn to vapor so your car can run properly. More than just harming your car, attempting the gasoline "top-off" is harmful to the environment. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, most gas pumps are designed to stop pumping once the nozzle shuts off. When pumping stops, the pump sucks remaining gasoline from the nozzle back into itself. When you try to keep filling up, you're rarely adding to the gasoline in your car. Instead, you're releasing harmful vapors into the air (and paying for the privilege). These vapors can damage your lungs and pollute the environment. Next time you're filling up, trust the pump – don't try to squeeze out a few more drops!
6. Replace your oil
Changing your motor oil regularly is not only proper vehicle care, it's also good for the environment! New, clean oil helps to increase your car's fuel economy and puts less strain on the engine. This means fewer pollutants released into the air. At many Christian Brothers Automotive locations, we make oil changes even more environmentally-friendly by offering recycled oil as an alternative to traditional motor oil. Recycled oil meets the high standard of all Christian Brothers products, but has one-third the environmental impact of traditional oil.
7. Use a sun-shade and keep your windows cracked in the summer
Putting a sun-shade in your windshield and cracking your windows while parked will help keep your car cool during the hot summer months. This effort not only increases your personal comfort, but helps the environment as well! Your air conditioner increases fuel consumption and NOx emissions, which can be dangerous to the environment. Keeping the car cool requires less effort from your air conditioner. This saves you money on gas and prevents pollutants from entering the air. Bonus tip: using a sun-shade in the winter keeps frost off your windshield, which decreases effort spent by your heater!
8. Get a maintenance tune-up
Following a regular maintenance schedule will help to increase your fuel economy, decreasing your car's carbon footprint. (Wheelprint?) Christian Brothers Automotive helps with this initiative by offering a complimentary courtesy inspection to every customer. When we see an area where your car could use a tune-up, we always ask permission before performing a service. Our inspection will check for worn spark plugs and brakes, low transmission fluid, improper wheel alignment and dirty air filters. You can breathe easy knowing all fluids and old parts are disposed of in an environmentally-friendly way!
9. Replace old spark plugs
Every vehicle has at least four spark plugs, but they can have as many as six or even eight. These spark plugs fire millions of times, which results in a lot of heat. Eventually, this leads to electrical and chemical erosion. As these spark plugs are firing, they become dirty and worn out, which can cause misfiring. When this happens, fuel is wasted to produce the energy necessary to fire the spark plug. By replacing old spark plugs, you will be increasing your fuel economy. This puts green back into your wallet and reduces emissions into the environment.
10. Drive safely
Our final tip to drive green is the easiest – drive safely. Avoid sudden stops and starts, and always drive the speed limit. Aggressive or jerky driving wastes fuel and decreases miles per gallon. It also causes unnecessary wear and tear on your car. Driving even 10 miles per hour over the speed limit can drastically inflate the amount of effort your car exerts. This increases emissions and wastes fuel.
This Earth Day, Christian Brothers Automotive encourages you to try out a few of our tips for green driving.
This earth, your money, and your life are precious to us. That is why these tips conveniently keep more green in the earth and your wallet. And remember, all parts and services are covered by our 2-year/24,000-mile Nice Difference Warranty. To schedule a maintenance check, or to learn more about our green initiatives, call Christian Brothers Automotive today. Notice the nice difference!