posted on April 22nd, 2016

With Earth Day and springtime coming into bloom, it’s a prime time to do the planet a solid and take steps to keep it healthy so we can keep enjoying the beauty of the season. The way you get around has a big impact on your carbon footprint, so we’ve rounded up a few simple tips to get the most out of your drive — and some suggestions for stylish eco-friendly rides if you’re looking to buy or rent!

Keep it light

Anything extra that you keep in or on your car decreases its fuel efficiency. Take a quick inventory of your vehicle and keep the junk out of the trunk when you’re not using it. Plus, if you have luggage or bike racks (or anything similar) attached to your car, removing them when not in use will decrease drag and increase your MPG.

Enjoy the scenic route

Keeping your cruising speed below 65 MPH is an easy way to be kinder to your car. Just a few miles make a big difference — driving at 70 MPH vs 60 MPH uses 15% more fuel, so the impact can have big results for both your wallet and the environment.

Tip-top shape

A well-serviced car is a more efficient car, so make sure your vehicle is regularly tuned up and that you’re using the correct type of engine oil. Plus, keeping your tires inflated to the optimum degree directly affects how much fuel you burn. If you’re in need of new tires, you might also want to look into transitioning to low rolling resistance tires, which can increase your fuel efficiency by 6%.

Sharing is caring

One of the easiest ways to travel greener is by car sharing. Renting out your car when it’s not in use or forgoing owning your own in favor of renting someone else’s decreases the number of cars on the road, which similarly decreases fuel burned. It also has longer term effects — when people share cars, there’s an overall decrease in manufacturing, which limits the damage done to the environment.

Fuel friendly rides

While the Prius goes without saying, there are now plenty of options to diversify your fuel-efficient driving: plug-in hybrids, full electric vehicles, and flex-fuel cars, to name a few. BMW and Lexus are bringing luxury to the hybrid scene with the i3, i8, and CT respectively, while the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron gives going green a whole new sense of class. Chevy is killing both the hybrid and electric games with the Volt (hybrid) and Spark (EV), which are both fun to drive and easy on the planet (and wallet, comparatively). The Honda Clarity and Toyota Mirai take it a step further with zero emission hydrogen fuel-cells. In this many styles, there’s no reason not to consider greening your drive.

Virginia is equally enamored with words and globetrotting. Whenever possible, she likes to combine the two through travel writing to help other wanderers discover and fall in love with the world.