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Published on October 22nd, 2007 | by Stephanie Evans


Green is Not Just the Paint Color

Sustainability, or green living, is a lifestyle in which present needs are met without compromising the resources of the future.  In choosing a green lifestyle, one of the main goals is to reduce one’s carbon footprint.  Your carbon footprint is the impact your lifestyle has on the environment in terms of greenhouse gases produced.  This footprint is measured in units of carbon dioxide, one of the most damaging of the greenhouse gases.

The emission of carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring event—every time we breathe, we exhale carbon dioxide.  While a sustainable lifestyle isn’t about holding our breath, it is about taking steps to reduce the unnatural emission of greenhouse gases.  Green cars powered by alternative fuel technologies do just that.  Green cars can be described as automobiles that are more fuel efficient, emit less greenhouse gases, or rely on renewable fuel sources for power.

Not everyone can run out and buy a hybrid car, or even a smaller, more fuel efficient vehicle.  Even though government regulations dictate that in the future these vehicles will be common place, those of us who want to make a change today may need a bit of help.

If you drive a diesel engine vehicle, you are in luck.  You can begin to make an immediate impact by opting for biodiesel fuels for your automobile.  For an even greater impact, you can have a conversion kit installed on your vehicle so it runs on vegetable oil. 

For those who drive gasoline engine vehicles, fuel efficiency is the goal here.  Here are a few tips to get you started on your roadtrip to fuel efficiency:

  • Make sure that your tires are properly inflated and your vehicle is well maintained
  • Check that your vehicle is not carrying any excess weight
  • Reduce your reliance on the air conditioner and, as much as possible, drive at a speed close to the posted speed limit—this can be difficult, given that today’s gear is constantly set to an "on-the-go" hectic pace, but try to plan so you have sufficient travel time in case traffic or other things impede your trip

Of course there is always the number one way to eliminate your vehicle’s carbon footprint—don’t drive it!  Consider carpooling with co-workers or look into public transportation.  No matter what choice you make in the green car department, every little bit helps.

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