Contributed by Zac Walker
Here’s an eco-friendly piece of advice for folks who like to drive cars:
It is mostly the nuclear power plants and heavy industry that receive the brunt of the anger from ecologists and folks concerned with the environment. But cars, too, have got their decent share of a bad rep over the years.
So, let’s be perfectly clear. The best way to save the environment (according to some of the portion of the scientific community) would be to not drive cars at all. But we can’t always do the best, can we?
The folks at the EU have put in place a rather tough carbon emissions tax. It intends to discourage people from driving cars that put out too much of the stuff into the atmosphere. Or it could be a worldwide grand-scale opportunistic money-grab by the government, of course.
Since no one seems to know the answer to the climate change conundrum conclusively, most people prefer to assume that our car gas emissions do affect the climate negatively.
What’s more––if we take a look at the thick black clouds of smog that covers many cities worldwide during the rush-hour––it could be that the folks concerned with the environment are right after all.
Anyway, in this article, we’ll talk about ways to reduce your carbon footprint by adjusting your practices both behind the wheel and when your car bonnet’s up for checks and maintenance. [Editor’s note: bonnet = hood for American readers.]
Here’s the deal.
Change motor oil regularly
While your engine oil doesn’t affect the environment in a direct way, it does so indirectly. That’s because the engine’s efficiency depends on the quality and the amount of it in your car’s motor.
A well-oiled engine will run smoothly and use just the right amount of fuel it needs.
On the other hand, if the engine is not properly oiled, it’s inner parts can get damaged over time. That means its efficiency will start getting lower with every kilometer you drive.
An inefficient engine, in turn, means it will use more fuel. Therefore, more dreaded carbon emissions.
Make the car as light as possible
You also need to adjust the weight of the car to avoid spending more fuel than you need to.
Car manufacturers, in general, will estimate how much fuel their models require per 100 kilometers. They need to estimate how well or poorly the vehicle will qualify on the carbon emissions scale.
The more fuel it uses, the more poisonous gases it will spew out its back end, which then means a worse carbon footprint rating.
Now, no matter how fuel-efficient your car is, don’t overload it while driving. You will make the vehicle move a greater mass on the wheels and use up more fuel. This, then, can add negative points to the fuel (in)efficiency rating of your car. You can avoid it by storing heavy stuff somewhere else.
Perform regular services
Besides fuel consumption and carbon emissions problem, your car can pollute the environment in other ways.
Having an unaddressed oil leak problem, for example, can leave traces of engine oil all across the roads you’ve driven on. Off the roads, it can put oil right into the fur, eyes, ears, and pouch of endangered black-flanked rock wallabies, as well as the feathers and beak of the Gouldian finch.
So, if you want the finch and the black-footed tree rat to survive your trips to the supermarket, have a professional car mechanic take a look at your vehicle every now and again.
All in all, the best way to cut your carbon emissions is not to drive at all. But if you must drive or you like doing it, take good care of your vehicle. Servicing it regularly will help you reduce the car’s carbon output. Strip it down to lose some weight, too, to gain some extra points in the carbon emission department.
Zac Walker is an Australian teacher and a half-time writer. He’s been writing eco-friendly articles for over a year now. Protecting the environment is of high importance to him.