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Tips to make cars green, clean

Tips to make cars green, clean

June 13, 2012

As I’ve absorbed the media cover-age over the past few days related to Canadian Environment Week and all that it encompasses, I couldn’t help but think about how far the auto-motive industry has come over the past decade or so in its efforts to do good for the planet.

Combining some of the most advanced environmental technologies ever developed and the lowest vehicle prices in a generation, automobile manufacturers have made it a lot easier for the average driver to do their part for the environment, not just on World Environment Day or Clean Air Day, but every day.

Whether you’re a driver yourself or simply enjoy offering advice from the back seat, here are my top 10 tips to help you celebrate sustainability, improve air quality and save money:

– Consider a greener vehicle. With vehicle prices and interest rates on new vehicles hitting record lows, there’s never been a better time to reduce your emissions by upgrading to a new, more fuel efficient vehicle.

– Participate in the BC SCRAP-IT program and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by getting older vehicles off the road. Retire your 1995 or older vehicle and choose from a long list of incentives. Replacing a 1990 sedan with a 2009 hybrid can result in a reduction of up to 67 per cent in greenhouse gas emissions.

– Avoid unnecessary idling. It wastes fuel, money, stresses your engine and adds unnecessary pollution to the air.

– Get regular tune-ups. Properly-serviced vehicles run more efficiently, waste less fuel and pollute the air less.

– Take advantage of the Clean Energy for BC incentive program. Receive up to $5,000 off the pre-tax price of a Clean Energy Vehicle, including new electric vehicles, battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and more. Filling up on clean electricity in B.C. can save the average driver up to $1200 per year in fuel.

– Properly inflate your tires. Chronic under-inflation can reduce the life of a tire by as much as 15,000 km. Canadian motorists will waste an estimated 533 million litres of fuel due to under-inflated tires this year alone, releasing an additional 1.2 million tonnes of car-bon dioxide into the atmosphere.

– Recycle your scrap tires. Returning your old tires to a participating retailer keeps scrap tires out of landfill and creates useful recycled rubber products such as athletic tracks and play-ground cover.

– Watch the lead foot. How you drive can impact how much fuel your vehicle uses, and in turn, the level of emissions. Slow down, maintain steady speeds and avoid jackrabbit starts and hard braking to use less fuel.

– Watch your weight. Clean out the trunk, cargo areas and passenger compartments. Less weight means better mileage. Keeping an extra 100 pounds of weight in a car will reduce its fuel economy by approximately two per cent.

– Get sleeker. Remove roof racks when not in use to reduce wind resistance, improving aerodynamics and fuel economy by as much as five per cent.

Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC

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