Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Environmental Wednesday: The Car Edition (part one of several, I'd imagine...maybe?)

1. Thank you all for your kind words of encouragement on my last post. I am sorry (I can't stop...Yes, it is becoming a problem) if you felt like you had to say something nice.

2. On to environmental Wednesday! Yippee.

So I've always wanted to dabble in car mechanics. I like to know how things work. How to take them apart and put them back together again. I like to get my hands dirty, covered in oil and grime; I like knowing I accomplished something.

However, cars are a problem in terms of well, everything! I was reading a website that was saying "10 tips to reduce your carbon emissions and save money" and who doesn't like to save money reduce carbon emissions. So, the first thing on the list was idling in your car, which apparently idling for more than 10 seconds causes unnecessary wear and tear on your car and costs Americans 78.2 billion dollars per year. But who turns their car off at EVERY stop light? And what about those of us who live in cold climates where warming up your car is a necessity? I'm a proponent of saving money and gas but, is it just me, or does that seem to be a slice of the ridiculous? Personally, I think this is a question for car talk. And if you don't like Ray and Tom, we can't be friends.

So, I looked up more stuff on how to improve your gas mileage and save the world.

1. Replace your air filter - 1 in for 4 cars needs a new one. Save 20 cents per gallon (apparently there are some assumptions in here...but who has time for that? WHO?).

2. Tire allignment, fix it. Save 20 cents per gallon.

3. Okay I am not going to lie to you...I am skipping some of these because saving a cent or two (matters, don't get me wrong...but we want RESULTS PEOPLE). Slow the Eff down. No seriously. Driving 65 on the highway (from 70) will save you 14 cents per gallon.

4. No fast stops! herky jerky driving is a gas waster (Notice how I started off being all Australian with my use of petrol and then fell back into my American trash talk of 'gas'?), anydoodle could save you 66 cents per gallon. SIXTY SIX.

5. Stop Braking (I think they mean heavy foot braking...because let's face it, if there is a moose in your way (and if you're me there is always a moose) you'll brake. Trust me.) 70 cents!

6. They have idling too - but they say thirty seconds. Every thirty seconds you don't idle you save 1 cent. I like this one better. and thirty seconds seems a much more reasonable amount of time no? (are you still reading this....? yooohooo!)

So by my rough calculations you could be driving for practically FREE because you'll be saving $1.90+ per gallon. Math doesn't lie people.

In summation, while proper maintenance on your car is obviously a great help (remember to check air in your tires because that gives better performance AND saves gas!), slowing down on the highway is probably the best and hardest of these ideas. It's the one I struggle with the most. But I say, give it a try. Or do it sometimes. Think of it this way, it just gives you more time in the car to listen to Car Talk.


  1. I don't have a car. What do I do now? :-)

    Great post!

  2. Dutch Donut Girl - you relish in your superiority over those mortals who do and say things like "You know you could save 20 cents per gallon if you changed your air filter...Just Saying'" :)