How to green your commute

How to green your commute

More and more, people want to mitigate their impact on the environment, and the commute is a big part of that. 28% of America’s greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation, and 60% of that is light vehicle traffic. You don’t need a fancy electric vehicle or even a new car to make your commute a little greener. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to green your commute:

  1. Set up a carpool

    Carpooling first caught on in the ’70s when gas prices rose explosively, and it’s still one of the most effective ways to get the most out of your tank. Carpools work by trading off who drives every week, spreading out both the gas costs and the wear and tear, and you can either start one in your neighborhood or at your office. Some carpools will also start a “gas fund” where everyone chips in, or they may buy into a cellular internet connection so passengers can work. And some will also work in tandem with school carpools, so one car drops off the kids while another gets everyone to work. Try sites like Group Carpool to get started with signup sheets and other tools.

  2. Combine commuting and errands

    Another way to keep your greenhouse gas emissions, and your costs, down, is to plan out your routes ahead of time to deal with errands. For example, if there’s a fridge at work and your coworkers are alright with it, leave a little earlier and do your grocery shopping for the day before you get in. Look for errands you can run along your route as you go to and depart from work, and fit in as many as you can. Not only are you saving yourself another trip, it also means you won’t have to turn around and go back out the door when you get home from work.

  3. Stay on top of car repairs

    Every car has a maintenance schedule, and sticking to it religiously can make the difference between a smooth-running car and a smog-belcher. Even little things like properly inflating your tires really do make a difference long-term in gas mileage and efficiency. Also, whenever you fill up the tank, reset your trip odometer, and keep an eye on the overall mileage you’re getting out of your car. If you start to notice a decline in what you’re getting out of each tank, that’s an early warning sign something’s not right with your car, so get it into the shop as soon as possible.

  4. Vary your commuting

    Depending on where you live, you should consider using different commuting methods on different days. If, for example, you don’t have any morning meetings, consider taking public transit into work. If you need to fit in a morning workout, and you have access to showers at a nearby gym or similar facility, take a run into work or hop on a bicycle. It’ll add some variety, and it’ll lighten the load borne by your car in getting you around.