5 Simple Ways to Reduce Driving Emissions

Climate change is one of the biggest issues of the 21st century and vehicle emissions are one of its major contributors. The fuel you burn during driving emits a slew of harmful greenhouse gases that eventually end up increasing the temperature of this planet. Fortunately, you can take certain steps to reduce driving emissions and thereby take control of your carbon footprint.

How to Reduce Driving Emissions: 5 Effective Tips

These following five tips won’t require you to make any major changes in your current lifestyle. You just have to be careful and sacrifice some careless habits.

Drive less

Well, it does not mean cutting your regular trips and spending time at home. You may think of alternatives such as riding a bike or walking, if possible. Using ride-sharing services and carpooling with a friend or neighbor at least one or two days a week will also help.

green driving
Take a bike ride once in a while. (photo source: National Academy of Medicine)

Taking the advantage of public transportation whenever possible is also a good idea. It will make a difference if you can take your car off the road even for one day a week.

Drive sensibly

You can reduce driving emissions by 20% just by going easy on the gas pedal and brakes. You just have to drive smarter by using your brain, not harder or faster. If you are a city mouse, being aware of your daily commute routes and the traffic will help to avoid the frequent slamming of brakes and pounding the accelerator. The benefits will be twofold – fewer carbon emissions and less wear and tear on the engine components.

Idle less

Cutting just five minutes of idle time each day will lower 220 (for a 4-cylinder engine) and 440 (an 8-cylinder engine) pounds of carbon dioxide a year! Many people do it thinking that restarting the vehicle will burn more gas than idling. It’s not true unless your idle time is less than one minute.

So, don’t keep the engine running when you are waiting for someone to pick up or stuck in an unmoving traffic.


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Use the AC smartly

Your vehicle emits 20 pounds of carbon dioxide for each gallon of oil burned. While turning off the AC once in a while won’t reduce that much emission, every bit counts when you are on the mission of saving the planet! If it’s not extremely hot outside, keep the windows open instead of running the air conditioning.

reduce car emissions
Be smart when using the air conditioning system.

Another trick is to turn the AC off just five to ten minutes before reaching the destination. The cold air will keep circulating for a few minutes even after the system is off.

Buy a hybrid or electric car

For every 12,000 miles of driving, an average vehicle discharges over 8,000 pounds of carbon dioxide each year. A hybrid or electric automobile is able to reduce driving emissions by 4,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. If you cannot afford an electric car, consider buying a hybrid model at least. The hybrid Toyota Prius could be a great option because it is not only economical but also has a reasonable price tag.