It goes without saying that our methods of transportation, however convenient at times, are often at odds with protecting the environment around us. During the summer this isn’t as apparent because the evidence disappears quickly but in the depths of winter the imagery couldn’t be any clearer.
How so? Consider the dark suit coating snow along streets where vehicles pass and the slushy black oily water filled with chemicals and other fluids flowing into sewer systems contaminating aquifers.
We’ve all seen it and we all know where this filth comes from which is why there’s no better time than now to change the way transportation impacts the environment. This may seem like a goal beyond our means but the truth is by keeping the environment in mind whenever going on the road we can change the reality and make a difference.
Some things to think about include the following:
- Walk: It may be getting cold outside but whenever possible save some gasoline and give the environment a break by walking. Breathe in the crisp air, enjoy the wintry surroundings and take advantage of the healthy benefits of going on foot.
- Carpool: When commuting to work check to see if anyone else is driving in the same direction as one car on the road is better than four. It lessons the exhaust and the pollution being spewed into the air.
- Public transportation: If carpooling isn’t an option and a good system of buses and trains is available use public transportation which generates less direct pollution.
- Unload: Most vehicles can haul a lot of heavy items when needed but the truth is most days the car should be clear of anything weighty so it doesn’t work harder on a regular basis using more fuel. Lighten the load for a smoother ride and cleaner air.
- Standing: Sometimes we’re running the motor standing idle waiting for a friend or sitting in the driveway until that family member comes downstairs. On cold days starting it up for a few minutes until the heat gets going may be necessary but when it’s ready turn off the engine until it’s time to drive off.
- Eco-cleaners: With all the snow, ice, and wet weather cars can get very dirty in the winter. If you’re thinking about giving it a wash on a clear day use eco-friendly cleaners.
- Emissions: Have your vehicle tested to make sure emissions are within regulations and inquire about how to improve them further.
- Deicing: We all know there could be some mornings where car doors are frozen shut. Instead of using chemical deicers try alternatives such as heat or eco-friendly salts. Alternatively, a car cover could prevent excessive moisture from seeping between parts freezing them shut.
- Disposal: Because winter is the harshest season many cars end up needing maintenance more often. In these cases make sure to dispose of batteries, tires, and other parts properly.
- Repurpose: When a car is beyond maintenance checks and repairs and needs to be disposed of entirely it doesn’t mean every piece is junk. Find ways to repurpose parts such as the mirrors and seats.
Jakob Barry is a home improvement journalist for Networx.com. He blogs about green topics for pros across the U.S. like Winston Salem, NC, garage doors.