Thanks to recent innovation, it’s now more possible than ever before to make eco-friendly decisions while behind the wheel. Whether you’re interested in going all-out and investing in a hybrid or are just looking for ways to reduce your carbon emissions and conserve a little gas along the way, there’s no time like the present to consider going a little greener on the road.
Before you make any major decisions, it’s important to do your research first. Thankfully, there are plenty of resources available to help you make an informed decision, so let’s take a look at a few.
Step 1: Check Out Federal Resources
The U.S. Government has made it an initiative to help drivers make eco-conscious decisions on the road. To that end, it’s worth taking a look at the resources and assistance they offer before going this route. For instance, you may have questions about fuel-efficient vehicles. After all, there are so many models on the market and so many bells and whistles to consider, how can you discern which is the ideal fit for you? A federal website centered on answering all your fuel efficiency questions is just the ticket. As an added bonus, you can also check out ways to conserve gas today, regardless of the type of vehicle you drive.
Or, maybe it’s the legal side of the matter you’re concerned with. You might be wondering what the laws surrounding green vehicles entail or what type of legislation has been created surrounding the topic of vehicular emissions. If this is more your speed, the U.S. Environmental and Protection Agency (EPA) has compiled a plethora of information on the topic, including highlights of related laws and regulations, such as the Clean Air Act.
2. Understand Your State Laws and Incentives
While it’s important to understand the concept of green driving on a federal level, your individual state may have specific decrees that will directly affect what you can do, where you can go, and what you can drive. As such, it’s important to also take a look at the topic on a state-specific level. There are also federal resources to assist with this, such as the “Green Vehicle Laws and Regulations” page on the DMV.org website.
You can also contact the Alternative Fuels Data Center to learn more about what your state says about hybrid vehicles, alternative fuels and more. The site even features an interactive map detailing state laws and incentives, eliminating the guesswork and helping you make a more informed decision. You can even customize the map based on your driver role. For instance, the regulations for a fleet owner may vary from those surrounding a normal vehicular driver, and it’s important to be aware of the distinction.
3. Do Your Research When Buying
Not all green vehicles are created the same. As with any vehicular purchase, it can help to do a little research and comparison shopping online before going into a dealership to view one in person. This way, you can compare make, model, year, price range and more all in one spot, rather than driving back and forth between locations to find the perfect fit. While you’re at it, perform a little insurance research to see if any plans offer incentives for green drivers or those looking to cut back on fuel emissions. From hybrid auto discounts to Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) discounts, low-mileage discounts and more, there are myriad perks that you could cash in on if you’re willing to check.
Remember, if the green vehicle that you’re driving is new, always ask for a vehicle history report. This is a simple, though often overlooked, step that can save you a ton of money and headache down the road. If there’s ever been anything wrong with the car in question, you need to know about it before signing on the dotted line, fuel-efficient vehicle or not.
4. Consider a Ride Share Program
As a way to integrate yourself into the green driving community and mindset, consider starting out by participating in a ride share program. Put simply, this is a process in which you’ll share a ride with other people who are going to the same general end destination that you are. Programs vary by state and geography, but this can be an ideal way to learn more about conserving fuel and going green on the road.
As an added perk, some programs allow ride share vehicles to join the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane, or the carpool lane. This way, not only are you cutting back on the wear your vehicle receives and saving gas in the process, you’re also able to bypass traffic!
5. Compare Costs
While there are many reasons you might be considering making the switch to a greener way of driving, a top one might be to simply save money. After all, the average price of gasoline in the United States at the time of writing is $2.93. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand how quickly that can add up, especially if you have a long work commute or spend the day driving kids around to various after-school activities.
Online calculators are available to help you compare the cost of owning and operating a hybrid vehicle to a non-hybrid one. You can even compare potential savings among different vehicle types while you’re hunting for the right one. By entering details such as the current fuel price, average MPG of the vehicle in question, and the conditions you plan to drive in, you can quickly see which vehicles will save you the most in the long-term. So, hop online and run a quick Google search to start comparing.
Going Green on the Road, One Mile at a Time
You don’t have to run out to your local dealership and buy a new vehicle today to start making smarter, more informed decisions on the road. Simply tapping into your local and federal resources to educate yourself is a great first step. From there, you’ll be better able to understand just how you can carry your eco-conscious mindset from home to the road, and you’ll be on your way in no time.