Green Your Commute
Did you know the average U.S. employee spends an average of 47 hours driving through rush hour traffic each year? All that time on the road means we waste 23 billion gallons of gas in commuter traffic a year. Learn how you can reduce your carbon commuter footprint with these simple tips.
- Take public transportation.In 2005, public transportation (like buses and metro) saved the U.S. 6.9 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Next week, leave the car in the garage and give public transport a whirl—it can save you time, money and 20 pounds of CO2 emissions per day. Haven’t used public transportation before? Start out slow; take it once or twice a week and before you know it, you’ll be confident enough to take it every day.
- Carpool with coworkers. Save a few pounds of CO2 by sharing a ride with your neighbors or coworkers. If your office doesn’t already have a carpooling plan, take it upon yourself to see who’s interested. Wrap up your next staff meeting by seeing if anyone wants to share a ride, or send out a short memo to solicit feedback. You’ll position yourself as an agent of change, saving you and your colleagues time, money and vehicle wear and tear…all while helping the environment.
- Consider going carless. It may seem drastic, but owning a car can be more hindrance than help—especially for city dwellers. And consider this: the estimated yearly cost of driving a single-occupant car ranges from $4,826 to $9,685—while the average yearly cost of taking public transportation falls between $200 and $2,000. And giving up your car doesn’t mean you can’t drive when you need to. Car sharing services like Zipcar and Car2Go are popping up all over the U.S.
- Bike to Work. Start by participating in Bike to Work Day in May and get comfortable with the routes in your area by riding with othes.
Of course, car-free tips may not be practical in certain areas. Fortunately, there are still ways you can reduce your carbon footprint as you travel to and from work.
- Switch to an eletric vehicle or hybrid. Hybrids and electric vehicles are now available from just about every manufacturer, have better gas mileage and run cleaner than their counterparts. If you can’t make the switch, try to look for a car that has the highest miles per gallon (MPG). You’ll burn less gasoline and stretch your dollar.
- Keep your car in shape. Strange but true: keeping your tires properly inflated can save an estimated 2 billion gallons of gas each year. In tandem with keeping tires trim, make sure to get regular tune-ups and filter changes—proactive maintenance will help you burn less gas while saving you from car trouble.
- Drive responsibly. Adhering to the speed limit and avoiding sudden starts and stops will help you burn less gas and bump up your MPG. Discovery’s Planet Green recommends keeping your engine speeds between 1,200 and 3,000 RPMs, and up-shift between 2,000 and 2,500 RMPs. Of course, planning efficient trips for errands and other trips will also keep you from racking up unnecessary miles.
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