Eco-Friendly – Car Thinking for the Future

Posted on: January 7, 2016

We’re a fairly vigilant and self-aware species, with these attributes allowing us to know that not everything is as sound with our natural world as it should be.  Environmental awareness has built steadily over the past several decades, and we’re at the point now where we understand that what we do can and will have a major impact on the world around us.  Our relationship with the environment isn’t an outsider role, either, as we’re direct members of the greater environment, and the issues that plague it will inevitably cause major problems for us as well.

The biggest issue facing the stability of the natural world is, of course, pollution, with one of the greatest sources of pollution being the vehicles we drive every day.  However, with our self-awareness and ability to observe and detect has come an extraordinary capacity for clever innovation, something that has been applied to the automotive industry and that we, on an individual basis, can apply for ourselves.

Designing Green Cars:

Perhaps the most well-known eco-friendly car is the hybrid.  A hybrid vehicle is simply a combination of a more traditional combustion-type engine and an electric battery.  These vehicles typically work by creating energy each time you press the brake, and then storing this energy in a battery that can be used in lieu of fuel.

Other vehicles operate under completely different systems, such as electric or hydrogen.  These systems create energy with little or no harmful emissions and through the use of renewable energy.  Many automotive companies are also investing more in the creation of flex vehicles, which can operate through the use of either regular gasoline combustion or through the use of biodiesel or ethanol.

Taking Things into Your Own Hands:

You don’t necessarily have to go out and get rid of your car in order to purchase a more eco-friendly designed model, as there’s a lot that you can do yourself to improve the environmental footprint of your car.  Something that can make a big impact is to reduce how much weight your car is carrying.  This can be achieved by trading out various parts of your car for lightweight counterparts, from nuts and bolts all the way to the body components of your car.  The less your car weighs, the less fuel it has to burn in order to get you down the road.

An easier and cheaper way to get your car to act a little greener is to simply change your own driving behavior.  The more you throw at your car, the harder it has to work, and this translates directly into how much fuel it has to burn in order to create enough energy to carry out what it is you’re telling it to do.

Constantly speeding up and slowing down, dodging in and out of traffic, and suddenly slamming on the brakes can lead to a great deal of fuel being burned off.  On the other end of the spectrum, keep your car from idling unnecessarily.  Simply sitting with the car in park while it’s turned on will consume more energy than if you were moving.

How much you’re using your air conditioner and heater also correlates to how much fuel you’re burning, and subsequently how much pollution you’re tossing out into the atmosphere.  To help reduce your need to cool your car, try parking in shade whenever you can, and use sun visors to cover your windshield when you leave your car.  Also, consider having your windows tinted in order to keep out excess light.  For the winter months, try to keep the heat at a minimum and focus more on keeping your window defrosted.

A major way of making your car greener is to have it serviced by a reliable, professional team on a regular basis.  When your car isn’t in the best working order, you’re far more likely to have a more negative impact on the environment, and this happens in a couple of ways.

For one, when you’re not having things like your oil and air filters changed or leaks fixed, then you run the risk of putting more harmful toxins into the air and even the soil and waterways.  The more maintenance problems you have that require replacement parts, the more energy that ends up being spent to make additional materials to repair purposes.

This not only means more fossil fuels burned to acquire resources and then create products, but also more material to end up in landfills, corroding and breaking down in a way that leads to harmful chemicals leaching into the soil and groundwater.