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Oct 3, 2007
Focus: Environment
Action Request: Various
Location: United States

Getting from Here to There

We've all got places to go, and most of the time we use our cars to get to those places. Our love affair with the automobile comes at a fairly hefty environmental price: each gallon of gas we burn produces nearly 20 pounds of carbon dioxide. All together, American drivers consume 8.2 million barrels of oil per day, and that creates 300 million metric tons of carbon emissions every year (Hybridcars.com). Add that to the higher prices we're all paying at the pump, and it's clear that our transportation choices can significantly impact our environmental footprints and our wallets!

Leave the Car Parked

While later lessons will discuss how to get the most fuel efficiency from your existing car, as well as automobiles that give you much greater gas mileage, the easiest way to save on gas is to leave the car parked. This is easier for urban residents, but even those of us who live in the most rural environments have options for driving less.

Some options to consider...

  • Public transportation: Most cities and towns have bus systems available, and larger cities may have multiple forms of mass transit. Public transportation may not be convenient for every trip, but using it when you can will lower your carbon footprint... and lower your gasoline spending.
  • Walking or biking: We can all use more exercise, and walking or biking for short trips allows us to get it while taking care of errands.
  • Consolidating trips: Even for those trips that we must drive, planning ahead and consolidating trips can save gas and money. It might be worth it to change the places we shop if other locations have multiple services available nearby - that way, you can still leave the car parked some while you're taking those necessary trips.

Your Action for Today:
Investigate Your Alternatives to Driving

Depending on where you live, do at least one of the following:

  1. Visit your local transit authorities' web site - you can find it through PublicTransportation.org. Using the tools available (some are better than others), figure out how you can take one regular trip per week by public transportation.
  2. Figure out one trip you take every week that you could walk or bike. Commit to doing it.
  3. Figure out three trips you take per week that you could consolidate into one. What errands could your run before or after work? Before or after picking the kids up from school? Before or after regular events like meetings, religious services, lunch or dinner dates? Could you even consolidate more by arranging a carpool with a friend?

As always, record your thoughts, decisions and commitments in your Green Journal.

Extra Credit: How did we get to our car-obsessed ways? Rebecca Johnson has published a great history of American car culture at walkinginfo.org.

Tomorrow: Greener options for household disposables.

Sincerely,

Green Options

The GO Team
GreenOptions.com

Visibility: Everyone
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Posted: Oct 3, 2007 8:44am

 

 
 
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