Is it Time to Ditch Your Car for a More Eco-Friendly Option?
The average American family owns 2.28 vehicles per household (and 35 percent own three or more). Unfortunately, most of these vehicles are still powered by gasoline combustion engines, which means our society continues to place a heavy burden on the environment.
If you understand the variety of alternative options available to you, you might well select another form of transportation that is greener and more efficient.
Five Alternative Forms of Transportation
To put it simply: Cars are terrible for the environment. Before they even manage to get on the road, gas-powered vehicles consume a ton of energy.
The automotive production process uses materials like steel, glass, rubber, plastic, and paint. And once the machines make it off the assembly line, things get worse.
“Vehicles are America’s biggest air quality compromisers, producing about one-third of all U.S. air pollution,” National Geographic asserts. “The smog, carbon monoxide, and other toxins emitted by vehicles are especially troubling because they leave tailpipes at street level, where humans breathe the polluted air directly into their lungs. That can make auto emissions an even more immediate health concern than toxins emitted high in the sky by industrial smokestacks.”
Even after a vehicle reaches the end of its useful life, it presents a burden. Though some cars are recycled, most end up wasting away in driveways, fields, and vacant lots. And between toxic battery acid, plastics, and rubber, the environment catches a raw end of this deal.
The good news is that you have some control. By making a personal decision to ditch a traditional vehicle and try an alternative form of transportation, you may personally reduce your impact on the environment.
Here are a few options:
A bicycle is one of the more practical, cost-effective, and eco-friendly options. They give off no emissions, require no car insurance or gas and very little maintenance, and you don’t have to opt for expensive parking.
If you live in an area where it’s practical to bike, you should consider this option. Most big cities even have bike-sharing programs that allow you to get around without having to purchase and maintain your own.
Perhaps you need something with a little more power. While a motorcycle isn’t exactly a green choice, per se, it’s a whole lot more efficient than a massive SUV or truck.
Most people don’t think about shifting to a motorcycle because they don’t know how to ride them, but the truth is that anyone can learn. Once you catch on, it feels very natural.
If you live in an urban area where your housing, job, supermarket, and other amenities are within a few city blocks, you might be able to get away with walking (and occasionally supplementing with mass transit). And since you’ll be burning enough calories already, you can go ahead and ditch that expensive gym membership.
Households used to get along fine with one car. Why do we now “need” two or three vehicles per household? If you carpool with one another, you can reduce your dependence on multiple cars and enjoy more time together.
On a related note, ridesharing services — such as Uber or Lyft — are also sufficient if you only need an occasional ride somewhere.
5. Hybrid and Electric Vehicles
If you must own a vehicle, make it a hybrid or electric one. These options are considerably more eco-friendly and surprisingly powerful and efficient. Given the increasing competition in the marketplace, costs are coming down, and options are getting more varied.
Time to Find a New Ride?
Are you ready to get rid of that gas-guzzler and try a greener form of transportation? Every situation is different, but you may be surprised by how many practical options are out there. Check them out and see what you think.