Practical Advice on Greening Your Commute

Bike Commute

Annoyed by your drive to work?  Wanting to change up your routine?  Instead of wasting time, would you be interested in making a difference with your commute?  Making your commute eco-friendly is the answer to all three of these questions.  With so many available options to people across the globe, anyone has the potential to make a difference by greening their commute.  From bicycling to buses to even rowing on local waterways, there’s an option out there that can fit any situation and, even more important, any budget.  Greening your commute benefits more than the environment: you may end up incorporating additional personal exercise to your days and improving your overall quality of life.  So take the leap and create an ambitious new commute!

Bus Commute

The first step in taking on the green commute challenge is exploring the options.  Most individuals first consider biking, public transportation, and car-pooling.  These are all wonderful options and are often widely available.  Biking will push you to spend time outside and will produce happy endorphins in the brain that will propel you through the workday.  Public transit is a cheaper option in comparison to driving, with gas prices constantly on the rise, and using public transportation will allow you to interact with others in your community.  Who knows, you may meet your new best friend on the bus! Car-pooling also encourages human interaction and will give you an opportunity to get to know your co-workers.  This option might be especially helpful if you have just relocated to a new city.  Suggesting a carpool could help to cultivate new friendships at work.

If driving to work alone in a conventional car is your only option, there are still ways to reduce your impact on the environment even if you can’t afford to buy a new hybrid or electric car.  Rush hour is not enjoyable for anyone, so if your job offers flextime, take it!  Driving in traffic creates internal tension and wastes precious gas.  If your employer offers a telecommuting option, even better! You can avoid commuting altogether for at least part of the week.

Running errands?  Try combining your stops by creating a plan of attack.  The US Department of Energy stated that a cold vehicle engine uses more gas than a warm engine, so hitting multiple stops in one trip will significantly reduce the amount of gas used, helping both your wallet and the environment.  Once at your destination, try walking to different stores or shops instead of driving from one parking lot to the next.

Vehicle Tune-Up

Vehicle tune-ups are not necessarily cheap, but tuning up the engine and keeping tires properly inflated will help keep your car’s gas mileage at its best and improve the overall life of your vehicle.

Finally, driving like a speed demon not only endangers you and others, but it also hurts the environment! The US Department of Energy also stated that for every 5mph an individual drives over 65mph, a 7% drop in gas mileage occurs.

Greening your commute will lead to a healthier environment and a happier you, while also cutting costs.  What’s not to love?

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Author: Kylee Sekosky

Guest student volunteer blogger. Studied American history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Interested in sustainable living and hoping to pursue a career in academic/career counseling at a collegiate level.

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