Hannah Cole for Etsy
Cars are not green, but you can make them greener, and milllions of people have to or prefer to drive. It’s nice to go car-free but if that’s not possible where you live, here are some ideas. Town planners could help by building for feet over vehicles. Governments could help by making tougher crimes for speeding and drink-driving. In Finland, fines are based in income so millionaire footballers pay heavy – it’s known as home of the ‘$103,000 speeding ticket!’ Also see the post on how to join a car-sharing club.
- Cutting Your Car Use is a nice illustrated book with 100 tips by a traffic reduction consultant. Anna walks and cycles most places, hires a car now and then, and occasionally takes a taxi.
- Be wildlife-friendly by slowing down, using lights properly and not dropping litter out car windows (encourages scavending. Keep a first aid box and details of local wildlife rescue to hand (the police will come out for large casualties like deer). See making roads safer for wildlife.
- Environmental Transport Association offers breakdown (and insurance) for cars and bicycles, profits are used to campaign for sustainable transport. It also offers local vehicle inspection.
- The Sion is a new spacious electric car that charges for up to 350km, using the power of the sun. It takes 35 minutes to store from the wallbox and has heated seats, and enough space for long legs.
Zero Waste Car Maintenance
- Oil & antifreeze are lethal to pets (the latter has a sweet taste). If you can’t have your mechanic change both, use a funnel and choose antifreeze made with propylene glycol (think P for protection – not pet-safe just safer than ethylene glycol – keep both locked away). Read up on how to clean up spilled antifreeze.
- Replace toxic air fresheners with charcoal PURGGO or Moso Bags (good to remove cigarette smells). Avoid essential oils near pets, children or allergies. But for everyone else, Scent (essential oils in a wooden tube that attaches to air vent) is better than conventional brands.
- Never wash cars on the drive, as the untreated water goes down storm drains and causes mini oil-spills. Either use a car wash that recycles the water or use waterless car wash products that clean and polish your car in one (wipe off in straight lines, to avoid swirl marks). Supermarket car washes often don’t have regulations to filter the water, and the oily suds can attract thirsty foxes or feral cats. Use a compostable cloth (launder microfiber cloths in a microplastic catch bag). Bin very dirty/oily cloths.
- Click Mechanic employs local mechanics to service and repair cars at your home, to avoid high prices of renting big showrooms.
Switch to Rerefined Motor Oil
Hannah Cole for Etsy
Engine oil does not wear out, it just gets dirty. There are companiese that clean used motor oil, so it can be sold back and put in your car, which helps to avoid more drilling for new oil, if you drive a car that uses it. It also works out cheaper and is approved by major car manufacturers. Drilling oil is bad for the planet and causes massive pollution. So while still in use, switching to a rerefined brand helps enormously. Always use a funnel when changing motor oil, to avoid spills and pollution.
Billions of gallons of motor oil are used each year, and a lot of this is improperly disposed, which causes pollution to our seas and rivers, and harms marine wildlife. Rather than being dumped or burned as fuel, reclaimed motor oil simply recycles it round again, and helps to keep plastic out of landfills, by stopping the sale of new bottles. Making rerefined motor oil also uses 85% less energy to produce, and just one gallon of reclaimed oil produces the same amount of engine oil, as 42 gallons of crude oil, and removes so much greenhouse gases, it’s the same as taking 200,000 cars off the road each year. As the oil is already refined, it has fewer contaminents so starts with a cleaner base, which means less chemicals.