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8 Ways to Green Your Ride

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8 Ways to Green Your Ride

My minivan is on its last legs. What I wouldn’t give to be able to buy a new or used hybrid. The thought of reducing my gas costs and my carbon footprint is a win/win if I’ve ever seen one.

“Hybrid”—a pretty trendy term—is much like “organic” and “natural.” But what does it really mean? Generally speaking, any vehicle that combines two or more sources of power to provide propulsion power is a hybrid. The two sources of power being leveraged by most hybrid cars on the market now are gas and electricity. The gasoline engine in a hybrid can be much smaller than the one in a conventional car, made of smaller parts, reducing the number of cylinders needing powering and operating the engine closer to its maximum load. The smaller engine uses less gas, with extra power being provided from the electric motor and battery. This is the key to its efficiency.

Related: Driver’s Ed on Hybrid Cars

A number of automakers are naming new models “hybrid” but the actual increased fuel economy of these vehicles is only around 1 to 2 miles per gallon. In other words, they’re getting big money exploiting the term “hybrid”, without providing the very tangible benefits of the real McCoy, which dramatically reduces the environmental (and pocketbook) toll by increasing the fuel economy of your car by 40-70 percent. While a small increase in fuel economy is an improvement, it is not the brand new world offered by vehicles such as the Toyota Prius and the Ford Escape Hybrid.

Related: What Your Car Says About You

If you’re unlike me and have plenty of cash to buy an authentic hybrid, I’m envious but happy for you and the planet. Before making your purchase, really get informed. Learn more about purchasing hybrids by checking out comparison charts and inputting your needs and driving habits at hybridcenter.org. My results showed that over five years, I would save $9,849 at the gas pump.

If you are like me and aren’t in the hybrid buying market yet, follow these tips from The Green Parent by Jenn Savedge (Kedzie Press LLC, 2008) to green your ride.

Next: 8 tips to green your ride

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Terri Hall

Terri Hall lives in the Hudson Valley with her family. In addition to writing, Terri works with public television and radio stations/networks in the area of new media, and leads workshops on authentic and empowered living.

56 comments

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5:36PM PST on Jan 4, 2012

thanks for the info

5:36PM PST on Jan 4, 2012

thanks for the info

10:34PM PST on Jan 29, 2011

Thanks.Really waiting a first real plug-in hybrid. It would be also cool,if those plug-in hybrids would use gas or ethanol when the batteries run out.

12:07AM PST on Jan 22, 2011

thanks

10:26PM PST on Jan 15, 2011

good info, another great hybrid car is the new Porsch Cayenne

2:52PM PST on Jan 15, 2011

good info thanks forgot about some of them

4:01PM PST on Jan 13, 2011

I still miss my jeep but trading 14 miles per gallon for 30 miles per gallon really puts a smile on my face.

1:19AM PST on Jan 13, 2011

Thanks!

3:29PM PST on Jan 11, 2011

You forgot #1: park it and walk.
If you have several errands that are near each other, park in the middle and walk to both instead of re-parking. The time it takes to walk might be less than what it takes to drive, and starting the car, then idling around hunting for a spot is about as bad as you can do regarding tailpipe emissions.

also, check out biofuels. Nearly any car can operate on at least 10% ethanol or 10% biodiesel. Many newer cars can handle 15% ethanol (e15). Most diesels can handle B20 or B50 without issue as well.

8:02AM PST on Jan 11, 2011

thanks

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