If you’re worried about the environment and want to do your part to reduce your carbon footprint, one of the best things you can do is get rid of your car. Riding a bike, taking the bus, or hopping on the train are all great ways to reduce your personal emissions.

Unfortunately, this isn’t doable for many families.

For those who live in rural areas or the suburbs, or for those who live in less-dense cities, getting to work and taking the kids to activities requires a car.

That doesn’t mean you’re doomed to destroy the environment! There are things you can do to make your vehicle greener so you can drive with less guilt.

Know Your Vehicle

The first step is understanding your specific car. This includes families who are driving simple four-doors, but it also includes those who drive vans, tractor trailers, and other vehicles.

For example, if you drive a tractor-trailer, make sure you are qualified, and keep your qualifications up-to-date. Different driving techniques and truck features can reduce emissions, not to mention, driving a truck when you aren’t properly licensed is illegal.

Some cars have eco-boost while knowing the last time your fuel systems have been replaced can cue you into the fact that your car needs to visit the shop. Know your car and its features and you can ensure you’re getting the most from them.

Clean out the Trunk

There are certain things you should always keep in your trunk. They include:

  • Jumper cables
  • Spare tire
  • Jack and lug wrench
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Fire extinguisher

Although there are items you should keep in your trunk at all times, chances are, you’ve got a lot of other stuff in the trunk that doesn’t need to be there.

Extra weight in the back makes your car heavier, and the heavier your car is, the harder your engine has to work to make your car go. It doesn’t matter if you like to keep foldable chairs in the back for convenience if you don’t feel like unloading after a vacation quite yet, or the kids like to keep their sports gear in the back, it really is better to get rid of all that stuff unless you need it for your next trip.

Keep Your Tires Inflated Properly

When was the last time you checked the air in your tires? Don’t assume that they are properly inflated if they don’t look flat. Your tires can be well below the recommended pressure, even if they look just fine.

Knowing how to properly check and inflate your tires ensures they roll smoothly, which means your engine works less hard to propel them forward. Know your tires’ recommended pressure and use a tire gauge to check them at least once a month. If they are low, fill them as soon as possible.

Tired of making frequent stops by the gas station on your way to work? Purchase an air compressor to keep at home so you can fill your tires whenever you want.

Get It Inspected Regularly

When you first buy a car, you should definitely have it inspected. However, that shouldn’t be the only time you have it inspected!

A lot can go wrong with your car. Not only can it make driving on the road more dangerous, inefficient systems can guzzle gas, making your vehicle less environmentally-friendly.

Take your car to a mechanic you trust whenever you change your oil so you can request a five-point inspection. Tell them that you’re interested in keeping your car as environmentally-friendly as possible and they’ll alert you to updates and replacements that can help.

Buy a New Car

There are a lot of things you can do to make your existing car more environmentally-friendly, but you can only do so much if you drive a beater. If you’re driving an especially old car and it’s time for an update, or if you simply want the most fuel-efficient vehicle possible, you may want to consider heading to the dealership.

Of course, the greenest cars are brand-new for the current year, but environmental features have been added to cars for many years. You can still get a more fuel-efficient, green vehicle, even if it’s used.

Ride a bike to and from work if you have the ability, but don’t think it’s the only way to reduce your carbon footprint. There are plenty of things you can do to make driving your vehicle more environmentally-friendly if your car is something you simply can’t give up.

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