Green Driving: Get Behind the Wheel Less and Do Good

Green Driving: Get Behind the Wheel Less and Do Good

Man standing outside of a train with his backpack and coffee.

Short distances, stop-and-go: That’s how most of us spend the majority of our drive time. Turns out, that kind of driving consumes more fuel — hard on the wallet and hard on the environment.

There’s good news, though: It’s easier than you might think to minimize your driving miles. The solutions are better for your cars, better for your health and definitely eco-friendly. Here are five to try.

Idea No. 1: Carpool

Easy, right? It might be even more important to you if you consider these stats: American commuters spend 42 hours in congested traffic each year and waste $1,400 idling away gas. That means finding a ride with coworkers or on a shared commuting service is more than just green driving. It also trims stress and increases the time you have, as a rider, to do something other than navigate fellow drivers. To help smooth out carpooling logistics, also consider ridesharing services.

Idea No. 2: Ride on public transit

Especially in an area with options — bus, train, subway and park-and-ride — you can often cut down on trips across town or to destinations. If you can use mass transit enough to get rid of one car, you’ll save about $10,000 a year, according to the American Public Transportation Association. If you’re preparing to move, check the availability of public transit: Households near public transit tend to cut 4,400 miles from yearly driving.

Idea No. 3: Hop on a bike

More and more commuters rely on two wheels to get where they need to go: From 2000 to 2013, bicycle commuting rates increased over 100 percent in what are termed Bicycle Friendly Communities — places that encourage biking and provide safe accommodations. Also, many cities are implementing bicycle-only lanes on heavy-use roads. However, never ride a bike — even for a short trip to the grocery store — without a properly fitting helmet.

Idea No. 4: Use your feet

Commuting on your own two feet helps do more than save wear and tear on your car. Just 30 minutes of walking — recommended for overall health by experts — burns about 150 calories. One trick to make it work better on your way to work: Walk in appropriate shoes and swap them out when you get to the office.

Idea No. 5: Just plan

It’s hard to fit everything into one drive, but doing so can often help streamline your schedule and get you driving less. Plot out errands so you drive to the farthest first, then work your way back home. You’ll prevent the back-and-forth that leads to even more stop-and-go miles. Map and traffic apps can also be useful to plot shorter routes and avoid traffic jams.

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The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.