12 Ways to Green Your Commute

There are many ways to reduce the cost and environmental impact of your commute

Green Lifestyle
5 min read

As the oil price threatens to increase, driving may once again become an activity that we need to carefully consider. Canadians spend an average of 26 minutes getting to work and 82% of commuters travel by car. There are many techniques and alternatives to driving you can employ to reduce the carbon footprint of your daily commute while still meeting your transit needs. 

Tips for Smart Drivers

Buy an Electric or Hybrid Car: Now you can love your car and still reduce your carbon footprint. The government offers incentives for drivers who wish to switch to eco-living vehicles and you can also get excellent car-loan options specifically tailored to electric and hybrid cars.

Drive defensively: Sure, driving aggressively may get you there three minutes earlier, but the cost is dear. Apart from the stress, road rage and safety issues, you can reduce fuel efficiency by 33% on highways and 5% in cities.

Wind Resistance: While we know your love for your favorite sports team runs deep, those window flags are reducing your fuel economy by at least 3%. A flag-adorned car traveling at about 110 km/h will burn an extra litre of fuel every hour.

Bike racks and rooftop storage devices are also subject to wind resistance and can reduce fuel economy by around 2% to 8% in city driving, 6% to 17% on the highway.

Junk in the Trunk: According to Natural Resources Canada: “Consider that the fuel consumption of a mid-size car increases by about one percent for every 25 kilograms of weight in the vehicle.”

Stop Idling: If you have to stop for more than 60 seconds, turn your car off. You burn just over a cup of fuel for every 10 minutes of idling.

Keep it Cozy: Air-conditioning can increase your fuel consumption by as much as 20% while driving with your windows open has no discernable influence on your fuel consumption.

Check your Tires: From the US Department of Energy: “Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3% for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires. Properly inflated tires are safer and last longer.”

Keep it Clean: Good vehicle-maintenance practices will improve efficiency. Use the recommended grade of motor oil, replace your air filters and keep your engine properly tuned.

Commuting Alternatives

Sharing is caring: Find colleagues who travel along the same route and carpool. If you don’t have a colleague that lives nearby, find other commuters using Carpool Zone, Carpool.ca, Carpool World or PickupPal.

Use public transport: Even if you only do so one or two days a week, remember that a bus replaces 57 cars and a subway or train 1,100-1,500.

Telecommute: This is a win for everyone! You spend less time in traffic and have more time for work.

Biking: Even if you only do this a couple of times a week, biking is brilliant for getting to work without a carbon footprint while packing in some exercise at the same time. Plan your best route using Ride the City.

Offset your Carbon

If none of these alternatives work for you, but you still want to reduce the carbon footprint of your commute, consider carbon offset credits. Here investing in carbon offset schemes helps to mitigate the carbon footprint of your commute. You can utilize the comprehensive guide to carbon offsets from the David Suzuki Foundation.

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