Americans are notorious for driving distances that many other global citizens would balk at. Plenty of unlucky people spend 2 hours or more driving to work every day, and then another two hours to get back home. In Europe, driving for a couple of hours might bring you across country borders! What we consider reasonable distances is a skewed perspective compared to other societies. Before mindlessly hopping in the car to do a single errand or commuting solo to work, be sure to consider the impact vehicles have on the environment we share.
In this economy, not everyone can afford a new Prius. If you can’t make the investment in a high fuel efficient or alternative energy vehicle, simple changes in behavior make a big difference. Look into using public transportation if you live in a city or suburb. Then, you can either walk to your local stop (and burn those breakfast calories!) or drive just a short distance to the rail parking lot. Think about the extra time you gain on the bus or train! Today, many rails have wifi so count it as a jump start on your morning emails!
The majority of the trips drivers make are less than one mile. Next time you’re heading down the road for a quick errand consider using an alternative mode of transportation – your legs! A couple extra minutes walking saves a trip in the car and shaves time off your gym routine.
If you can’t avoid driving, make sure you’re not the only one in the car. Connect with your neighbors on one of these helpful carpool sites – www.erideshare.com, www.rideshareonline.com, or www.carpoolworld.com. It’s a great way to make new friends and save gas on shared trips.
In charge of the carpool? Try hypermiling, or driving in a way that maximizes mileage, to save energy and money! Tips include turning the car off before putting it in park and using cruise control.
Long distance trip coming up? Think about rail travel! The train is fun for the family and better for the environment. According to U.S. Department of Energy data, Amtrak is almost 20 percent more efficient than domestic airline travel and 30 percent more efficient than auto travel on a per-passenger-mile basis.
Take the biggest leap of all and get rid of your car completely! If you’re in a region with a carshare program, like zipcar or igocars, you can still have access to a vehicle for a very reasonable fee. Many big cities have their own version of these successful programs.
Make sustainable transportation a new habit!