For much of the early history of the car, no consideration was given to various environmental effects caused by the automobile. American cars and trucks are a huge source of global warming pollution. U.S. autos emit more than 333 million tons of carbon dioxide each year, more than one-fifth of the nation's total carbon dioxide emissions.
Compared with the rest of the world, American auto emissions are disproportionately high. With only 5 percent of the world's population and 30 percent of the world's automobiles, the United States contributes 48 percent of the world's automotive CO2 emissions.
With so much talk about biodiesel fuel, hybrids, and hydrogen powered cars, it may seem like you can't use your old car at all if you're concerned about the environment. While a lifestyle change is probably inevitable for all of us eventually, there are many things we can do until eco-friendly models make our gas-powered cars of today obsolete.
Of course, decreasing how much and how often we drive is the best solution for our ecological conundrum, but since most of us won't give up driving all together, consider the following five easy ways to decrease your car's environmental impact.
5 ways to cut your emissions:
- Service your car - You'll increase your fuel efficiency, decrease your greenhouse gas emissions, and add to your car's life.
- Skip the drive-through - If you spend just 5 minutes in the drive-thru for lunch each weekday, that's a total of 1300 minutes, or more than 21 hours, a year!
- Slow down - Because wind resistance builds up so much with higher speeds, every mile per hour you drive over 55 decreases your fuel economy by 2%.
- Scrape the windshield - Break out your eco-friendly windshield scraper and scrape that ice away!
- Check your tires - Under-inflated tires are bad because they increase the friction between your rubber and the road, and all that friction accounts for horrible gas mileage as well as increased carbon emissions.