How ‘green’ is your car?  

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) describes “green vehicles” as more efficient and less polluting compared to standard vehicles. These vehicles have lesser emissions and help save fuel, which, in return, help save the environment and your money.

In the U.S., vehicles that burn gasoline and diesel fuel are still the main form of transportation for most people, according to the EPA. This is in spite of the fact that “green” cars are available in the market. Now, for those who already own a car or two, can you tell how green your car is?

Here are factors to consider:

Greenhouse gas emissions

Fuel-powered cars produce mainly carbon dioxide on top of nitrous oxide and methane gas.  These are all harmful gases that cause the deterioration of both the environment and our health due to pollution.

Curious about your car’s emission?  You can look up for a particular car model’s carbon dioxide emission atwww.fueleconomy.gov. This site is maintained by the EPA and Department of Energy.  The EPA also gives recognition to cars with low emissions and high fuel economy that has gained good remarks in the Air Pollution and Greenhouse scoring categories. You can also look at the EPA’s handy Green Vehicle Guide for emission statistics, and vehicles that have earned EPA’s “SmartWay” and for a more exclusive recognition, the “SmartWay Elite.”

Fuel economy

The fuel economy of an automobile is the relationship between the distance traveled and the amount of fuel consumed by the vehicle. The Union of Concerned Scientists explained that, “For every gallon of gasoline that is consumed, approximately 24 pounds of global warming pollution are released into the air. Drilling, refining, and distributing gasoline account for about five pounds of global warming pollution per gallon of gasoline, and burning gasoline during vehicle operation produces another 19 pounds of global warming pollution per gallon.”

To simply put it, the better the miles per gallon (MPG), the lesser impact it has on the environment. The websitewww.fueleconomy.gov is a good source for mileage information on cars and trucks.

Green manufacturing

Apart from sustainability and innovation that focuses on a car’s efficiency, manufacturers are also including green manufacturing initiatives. In the quest to go lean, clean and green, some manufacturers have embraced a plant-wide waste reduction initiative, where cars are made with minimal amount of waste, if not totally zero. There are manufacturers who are reusing and recycling auto parts. The good news is that they are saving themselves a good amount of money while saving the environment.

Sharon Basel, a sustainability spokeswoman at General Motors, said in an interview with the New York Times that, “Reducing waste, not creating it in the first place, is the desired end game. I’d actually like to see our revenue from recycling go down. Reducing the waste streams that are created is a neverending cycle.”

Read about the brand and model of your car and see if the company strikes a good balance between business and environmental needs.

Car brand

Manufacturers know that consumers are intelligent and can distinguish which offer genuine green efforts that produce actual results. Different car brands have their own way of being environmental-friendly. Some companies put out an annual environmental report, while others have been making headway with efforts to reduce the transport cost of its cars.

Others offer dealerships with a guarantee on end-of-life vehicles to ensure that these are properly disposed of, while others recycle industrial water, install solar panels at all their plants. These are some of the initiatives that the car manufacturers have developed.  In the near future, there  will be more green initiatives through constant research and development.

What were mentioned above are some external factors that contribute to a vehicle’s “green-ness.” While these contribute to the “green” factor of the car, it does not end there. The effort to “greening” your car extends to you as a driver/owner. Whether your car passed the factors mentioned above, it pays to keep up on its maintenance with regular air filter and oil changes to boost your car’s MPG significantly.

There are other ways to amp up your car to become environment-friendly.  Between finding the right green vehicle, owning one and using your it responsibly, you can surely help minimize your car’s environmental impact.

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