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This car is green: Tips for eco-motoring.

CAA Auto Advice June 05, 2018
Family of four on a camping trip.
Taking care of the planet and being a gearhead need not be mutually exclusive. Some of the world’s fastest cars are electrified hybrids and entire races are run in Formula E without burning a drop of gasoline.

Beyond megabuck supercars and exotic race series, there are plenty of ways in which regular drivers can make smart choices to reduce their environmental footprint but still enjoy their car. Cleaning your ride? Fixing your whip? Simply taking a good long drive? We have a few suggestions that will please Mother Earth without cramping your style.

Clean and green.

Several companies have embraced new formulas for their automobile cleaning products, creating eco-friendly car wash options that will make your ride shine but won’t harm the planet. If using an automatic car wash, try to seek out one that recycles the water it uses. Large traps and filters screen out harmful particulates at these facilities, providing a wash that’s every bit as good as one performed with fresh water.

The myth exists that wash products sodden with chemicals aggressively attack dirt and grime, while ‘green’ car wash supplies are too soft or mild for the job. In fact, some of these chemical products can be harmful to vehicle surfaces so selecting enviro-friendly options is not only better for the earth, it might be better for your car, too.
Vehicle in a car wash.

Spare parts.

Maintaining one’s car is key to keeping it mechanically sound and on the road for a long time. There are a few steps one can take to lessen the environmental impact of this important part of vehicle ownership:

  • Purchase and install air and oil filters made with eco-friendly practices
  • Replacing broken parts with good used units from an auto recycler
  • Swapping worn out tires with a set engineered to increase fuel economy

Is the car’s ‘Check Engine’ warning light illuminated? In many cases, it is thanks to a problem related to the emissions system. Under that operating condition, the engine may be producing slightly more pollutants than normal. Have it checked by a trusted mechanic as soon as possible.

A technician looking at the underbody of a car.

Breaking the habit.

Reduce your idle time. Shut the engine off while waiting to pick up a friend or consider a car with modern start/stop technology during your next purchase. Warming up a car for several minutes in the winter months sure helps warm the cabin, but most modern engines only need about 30 seconds of warm-up time to reach operating temperature.

On the highway, use cruise control on level ground to maintain a constant speed. Empirical data shows travelling 105 km/h saves a noticeable amount of fuel compared to cruising at 120 km/h.
Car traveling on multiple lane highway

Route master.

Combine your trips. Instead of visiting the grocery store three times a week, make a list and pick everything up in a single shopping session. Carpool to work if you can and take advantage of work-from-home opportunities if they exist.

Try driving a few different routes to your common destinations, keeping track of fuel consumption on each journey. You might be surprised at the damper extra traffic or idling time can put on fuel economy.
Three friends sitting in a car.

The CAA Auto Advice team provides Members with free automotive advice. If you have questions about car care, buying a new or used vehicle, auto repairs, vehicle inspection, driving costs and more, contact us by phone at: 1-866-464-6448 or email: autoadvice@caasco.ca 


Written by: Matthew Guy.