5 ways car owners can be friendlier to the environment

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Text and photo by Wee Gamboa

I know what you’re thinking: Cars are polluters of Mother Nature, so environmental awareness and mobility don’t make a logical match. The evidence is plain to see during this difficult time of the enhanced community lockdown, when the metro skyline has been smog-free. Even as we consider that, when things get back to normal, we as car owners can still do our part to assure that we don’t clog up nature’s lungs again.

It starts with being more conscious about how we use and maintain our vehicles. Read on.

1. Use fully synthetic engine oil.

It definitely makes more sense from a green perspective to keep your old car running and well-maintained for as long as you can — especially if the car is giving you great mileage. A good start to good performance is the oil that you are using. The general belief is that fully synthetic, the purest type of synthetic oil, is the way to go. However, there is no global standard that grades synthetic oils. Each manufacturer has its own secret additives and processes. But the fact of the matter is that you don’t need to change oil as often when you’re using the fully synthetic kind. You can go as far as 10,000 kilometers before needing to replace it, and its use can promise reduced emissions, lower engine drag from greater resistance to thickening, and better all-weather protection. If you can afford it, get it. A higher oil grade gives better engine protection that may save overall costs in the future. Make sure your local shop disposes your used oil safely and remind them of the benefits to the environment when they do so.


2. Stop idling your car needlessly.

You can stop idling your car a long time as you warm up the engine. You’re just wasting fuel and releasing emissions. Modern cars take as little as two minutes to warm up. Avoid staying in the car with your engine running just to kill time or to meet a deadline as you work on your laptop. There are a lot of coffee shops waiting to accommodate you — post-ECQ, of course.

3. Wash your car smartly.

Going to the car wash a little less means conserving water. You know the drill; If you’re washing your car on your driveway, try not to let the water run from the hose too long. You can also try car wash alternatives such as the waterless option. A waterless car wash cleans your car, of course, without the use of water. Instead, it uses a pre-mixed spray detailer that you wipe on your vehicle’s surface. Alternating a traditional car wash and the waterless car wash should do the trick of properly cleaning your car and conserving water.

4. Clean your trunk space.

Remember, your trunk space is not a spare closet or storage compartment. Sometimes, people treat it as such. They either forget some of the items they keep in the back or they deliberately place items to save on garage space. Putting junk or needless stuff in the back of your car adds to its payload, which negatively impacts fuel economy. Plus, cleanliness keeps pests and bacteria away — as well as allergens that can get into the cabin.

5. Carpool with your friends and coworkers

If there are days that you can leave your car at home other than its “coding day,” do it. Carpooling with your friends and coworkers once or twice a week makes a lot of sense, and it reduces the wear and tear to your car (and saves on fuel, too). Of course, it’s also better for the environment.