Reducing Car Usage
Between soaring gas prices, inexperienced drivers, and traffic delays, driving everyday can feel more frustrating than convenient. Additionally, greenhouse gases—CO2 and other gases that trap heat in the atmosphere, warming the planet—and oil dependency both surge due to transportation.
Fortunately, there are driving alternatives that can help you become more eco-friendly and leave you healthier and happier.
Walk or Bike
If you need to travel only a mile or two, then consider walking or biking. This can save gas money and time spent on the road, reduce fuel emissions, and improve your health.
Riding with a friend to someone’s house or with a colleague to work is a great way to be more sustainable, maintain your car’s value, and save both of you money.
Florida also has special roadway lanes designed to encourage carpooling and reduce commuting time.
Use Public Transportation
Did you know riding the bus, commuter rail, or streetcar saves 42.9 million gallons of oil every year in Florida?
Not only that, but commuting to places with public transportation improves traffic safety, boosts the state’s economy, reduces traffic delays, and gives visitors and residents different transportation options.
If you must drive your vehicle each day, then follow these easy steps to reduce emissions and save money:
- When driving, avoid accelerating quickly, ease on the gas and brakes, and reduce your car’s weight by removing unnecessary items.
- When buying a new or used car, look for one that is fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly. (Consider this—if you switched from a 25 mpg to a 50 mpg vehicle, then you would save about $1,600 in gas in one year.)
- Keep your car well-maintained with scheduled tune-ups.
- Check your tire pressure regularly to keep your tires longer and fuel costs at a minimum.
- If you own a Flex Fuel Vehicle (FFV), then consider trying renewable fuels, such as E85 or biodiesel.
Whether you’re riding a bike to work, taking the bus home, or driving a fuel-efficient car, there are many ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint. Even if you start small, leaving your car at home twice a week can save 1,600 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions each year.
Adapted and excerpted from:
“Economic and Community Benefits of Urban Fixed-Route Transmit in Florida,” Florida Department of Transportation (06/2011).
“Environmental Tips,” U.S. EPA (rev. 03/2014).
“Green Vehicle Guide: What You Can Do,” U.S. EPA (rev. 04/2014).
“What You Can Do on the Road,” U.S. EPA (Accessed 07/2014).