Climate change is happening whether you’re ready for it or not. The ozone layer is depleting, the earth is warming, and the oceans are becoming acidic. In addition, entire ecosystems are being altered and the effects remain unknowable – but if humanity doesn’t change its habits, the results are likely to be catastrophic.
If you are looking for a way to reduce your own individual carbon footprint, one of the best ways to do so is by investing in an energy efficient car or changing to an alternate form of transport.
Here are some ways clever engineers and transportation officials are coming up with solutions to our fossil fuel dependence.
In the last decade, huge advances have been made in the electric vehicle market. And thanks to companies like Tesla, they’re incredibly coveted as well.
Automakers are creating fully-electric vehicles like the Mercedes EQ but hybrid vehicles that use both gas and batteries are also increasingly common .If you’re not ready to buy, you can still check out Mecedes Benz lease specials in Delray, Duluth, or Detroit – wherever you happen to be.
Besides vehicles themselves, here are few ways automakers and engineers are increasing the energy efficiency of vehicles in general:
- Cylinder deactivation: One part of the engine’s cylinder becomes inactive when in cruising mode but will re-activate during a rapid acceleration movement. If your engine has six or more cylinders, you won’t even notice a drop in performance.
- Direct fuel injection: Fuel is directly injected into the cylinder barrel, providing improved combustion than when air and fuel are combined outside of the cylinder.
- Less heavy materials: Automakers have been focusing their construction of vehicles using materials like carbon fiber that reduces the total vehicle weight, which, in turn, increases the engine efficiency.
- Ride height: If a car has poor aerodynamics, it will have more drag as it moves through space. Automakers are now paying closer attention to aerodynamics, which translates into better fuel efficiency.
- Vortex generators: This futuristic-sounding addition is placed right in front of the rear window, which reduces drag.
- Wheels: Instead of large, bulky wheels, engineers have been using thinner and smaller ones which have a lower rolling resistance. Researchers also discovered that fully closed off and concave rims boast better aerodynamics than open rims.
Although none of these features by themselves make a car significantly more energy-efficient, multiple of these technologies working together does.
Make the most of the public transportation in your city. Typically, it’s much cheaper to take your local bus, train, or trolley to get wherever you need to go. Plus, it’s better for the environment because cars with single passengers in them use considerably more fuel to transport their occupants than public transport.
One of the best ways to get around, depending on your city’s particular infrastructure, is by bike. It’s faster than walking, saves money on gas, encourages activity, and reduces congestion on the roadways. It’s a great choice for those looking for an easy way to get from Point A to Point B with the bonus of exercise as a benefit.
Can’t bike all the way to work? Consider looking for a park-and-ride situation so you can drive part of the way to work and then bike the rest of the way. Or, you can bike to a train or bus station to reduce the total amount of mileage you’re biking each day.
Other ways to reduce your environmental impact
- Reduce your meat intake: Factory farms are one of the largest polluters in America. Reducing the amount of meat you eat each week is one step you can take in your own personal life to make your carbon footprint in a little smaller.
- Avoid single-use plastics: Single-use plastics are wasteful and are likely to end up in the ocean. When you can, use either reusable containers and recycle what you can.
Although automakers are listening to consumers and their desire for more green choices in the vehicle market, there’s so much more you can do besides choosing an electric vehicle. And, if we all band together and make better choices, we can change the trajectory of climate change.