Odds are, you’re behind the wheel at some point during your day— during your commute, running errands, embarking on an annual road trip, you name it. In fact, according to AAA, Americans spend an average of 51 minutes a day in their car. With drivers spending a sizable chunk of their day behind the wheel. From large trucks to tiny sedan owners, more Americans are spending more significant portions of time between bumpers than ever before.
Unsurprisingly, most vehicle owners deem their automobile essential for everyday life— and for a good reason. The general public perceives personal vehicles to be more reliable than public transportation, especially in more rural areas, meaning the get-up-and-go factor of a personal vehicle plays an indisputably vital role. In fact, Pew Research has found that 86% of Americans say a car is a necessity. Besides acting as an impromptu drum-set, the wheel of your vehicle gives you the control to take hold of your day-to-day life.
However, cars aren’t just fast speeds and shiny paint. The declining health of delicate ecosystems is the cost of our automobile obsession. Car tailpipes spit out noxious fumes, gasses, and toxins that mingle in the air we breathe. The raw materials needed to make a car are taken from the earth in huge quantities to keep up with demand— and when it comes time to discard these vehicles, they are often thrown in landfills where their empty hulls are left to decay, leaking battery acid.
So what if you don’t want your wheels working to wreck the world’s environment? Well, your car’s carbon footprint can shrink in size with these five simple steps.
Consider the environmental benefits of salvage yards
Salvage yards act as a recycling plant for wrecked, abandoned cars. Though one part of a vehicle may sustain damage beyond repair, another can be salvaged and used elsewhere, increasing the item’s lifespan and reducing its impact on the planet. Furthermore, salvage yards enforce strict regulations on the disposing of car parts— batteries, chemicals, and other materials are handled and removed safely instead of rotting in a landfill.
To maximize the eco-friendly benefits of used car parts, partner with a trustworthy and credible salvage yard to ensure that all regulations and guidelines are being followed in the interest of environmental protection efforts.
If you are interested in finding a reputable salvage yard, conduct a Google search using the keywords “pull apart near me.” That way, you can generate a list of reliable auto salvage yards in your neighborhood.
While idling in parking stalls and waiting in the drive-through line may seem like a small thing— the fumes add up fast. Besides being harmful when inhaled, these gasses can also impact the environment by degrading the ozone layer. When you know you’ll be sitting still for a while, turn your car off. It’s only a quick twist of a key to be on your way again, and in the meantime, you’ll be conserving fuel as well. Plan your time wisely to minimize the amount of time your car will be stagnant— leaving the house just a few minutes earlier can make all the difference between rush hour and a smooth traffic pattern.
Have someone going your way? Pick them as a passenger and have them ride along with you. It makes more sense to share a ride than hogging the road. This small change can have a big impact, as it eliminates your passenger’s car from the road and allows for more efficient transportation with the carbon emissions cut in half. Carpooling can also add a friendly conversation to your commute. If you know someone in your vicinity who goes to or near the same place you do, consider asking if you can carpool with them.
Obey driving and traffic laws
It’s always smart to obey the law— especially on the road. When the repercussions of a crash could go from denting to deadly, you want to make sure to stay safe. Safe driving translates to fewer crashed cars, reducing the number of vehicles rotting away in a landfill.
Note that if you’re a reckless driver with road-rage tendencies, your fuel efficiency will directly correlate with your mood. That said, take things slow and steady, and your gas mileage will improve.
Choose your car considerately
Consider looking into hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles, or buy a used vehicle (essentially, recycling the car). Researching the right fit for you can improve your experience with your vehicle-of-choice and preserve the environment as well.
Cars play a starring role in our daily lives— from traffic to traveling, automobiles are involved. With cars being such a massive part of our lives, it’s only fair that we take a good hard look at the environmental repercussions of unsustainable driving habits. Luckily, drivers can mitigate the impact with just a little research, good driving habits, and ride-sharing.