Since WeeL is the “go to” car resource for our Members, we spend a lot of time working with people about potential new car options, along with advising on ways to keep their current vehicle on the road.
I have had recent discussions with Members about choosing their next new car. Not surprisingly, many have expressed interest in Tesla or electric vehicles in general. When asked why they are interested in those types of vehicles, many think the technology is cool, and many indicated they want to reduce their carbon footprint, and an electric vehicle would enable that.
This got me thinking – it’s great that people want to help the environment, and its great that people are interested in electric vehicles, but for most it’s still a very long term solution. In the short term, these same people are all driving gas powered vehicles, and there are steps they could be taking right now to reduce their environmental impact. Here are just some ideas:
Don’t buy more car than you need
It is true, some people legitimately need seven passenger SUVS, and V8 pickup trucks for towing. However some of us purchase vehicles that are overkill. For example, many choose the 6 cylinder option in a Honda Accord, however the 4 cylinder option is plenty good, and costs less to buy and uses less fuel. At the same time there are some people still buying massive SUVs, which might only be utilized on the rarest of occasions. Maybe they are better buying a smaller SUV, and renting a larger car for the rare times they actually need it.
Take advantage of new technologies
Buying an electric car is not the only vehicle type that can help the environment. There are so many advancements in the Internal Combustion Engine that their environmental impact keeps getting smaller. Technology like turbocharged engines and auto start-stop functions are allowing today’s engines to provide great performance, while lessening the use of fossil fuels. Cars are also being equipped with eco settings, which adjusts the vehicle performance to further reduce fuel usage.
Just keep your car maintained
The most simple thing you can do is to keep your car properly maintained. This means simple steps like getting your oil changed regularly, using the appropriate fuel for your vehicle, and even something trivial like maintaining the right tire pressure. These little things start making a big impact on the environment, along with saving you money.