How to feel good about your daily commute

(NC) Many of us spend countless hours in our cars, shuttling to and from work, running errands, dropping the kids off at school and activities and everything in between. All this driving can have a serious impact on the environment, but being mindful about your commute can minimize pollution and reduce your carbon footprint. Here are some tips to get you started:

Adjust your driving style. Fuel-efficient driving can save you hundreds of dollars in gas every year and lower your vehicle’s carbon dioxide emissions by up to 25 per cent, according to Natural Resources Canada. Some techniques you can try include gentle acceleration, maintaining a steady speed, anticipating traffic changes, avoiding high speeds, and coasting to decelerate, rather than doing a hard stop.

Upgrade your ride. For your next purchase, consider a hybrid - a smart, energy-efficient move for your wallet and the planet. With no need to ever charge it – or worry about how far you can drive - a hybrid is a convenient, practical and economical way to reduce your carbon footprint every day. Much more fuel efficient than a regular gas vehicle, a hybrid can save you about 30 per cent on gas every month – and that means 30 per cent fewer emissions. Plus, hybrid cars and SUVs from companies like Toyota are now more affordable than ever, with prices only a couple thousand dollars more the gas versions.

Limit unnecessary weight. Anything that adds drag to your car increases fuel consumption and your carbon footprint. That’s why keeping your vehicle light and streamlined is a good habit to get into. Before every ride, take an inventory of things you may not need – from attachments like your roof or bicycle rack, to extras you’ve been storing in your trunk, like road salt, old tires or sports equipment.   

Choose your route carefully. Obstacles that cause you to stop or slow down mean constant acceleration and deceleration, which is a nightmare for both fuel economy and the environment. Take a few minutes to map out your route before you go, to avoid traffic, construction, major streets with lots of stoplights and other delays that get in the way of smooth sailing. A hands-free app can also help with this, but if you need to change your route, make sure to pull over safely first to avoid distracted driving.

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