To a brighter future

To a brighter future

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Green-tinged Driving (updated for 2014)


Okay, Getting There Green Day may be the first day of spring, but for a lot of us it's just a date on the calendar, not a bird-chirping, flower-blooming burst of sunshine. Many places are expecting cold, snowy, slushy weather. And check this out:

"Excellent, Smithers!"

 That's a lot of anger towards a simple rodent, even one that looks like Mr. Burns. The point is, if you have to drive, then drive -- but give your driving a distinctly green tinge by trying one, two or all of these simple ideas.


1) Check your car's tire pressure

Don't know the correct pressure for your tires? No problem, it's stamped on the side of the tire, right?




       Not right






That number on the tire is the tire maker's recommendation. They made the tire, but not the car.

So that's a door jam. Who knew?


Please read the manual. Just this once?
 But the people who made the car gave this a lot of thought.
So you want their  recommendation, which is either on the door jam or in the owner's manual. And it might be different for the front and rear tires.



Dave under pressure (Grace couldn't make it).


Once you know the correct pressure, check your tires with a gauge, either the kind you keep in the glove compartment or the one built into the gas station air pump. Fill as needed, and don't forget the spare!






2) Get the junk out of the trunk

Seriously. You need golf clubs and bags of soil -- in the winter? And go low-sodium in the summer and leave the salt at home. Same with winter tires. They belong either on the car or in storage -- in a building, not a trunk. Keeping the cargo hold free of extra weight saves fuel. Just ask an airline.




3) Plan your trip and leave early

Simply put, if you're not stressed out as a driver you'll be easier on the gas pedal.
Instead of dashing out the door at your usual time, half-eaten bagel clenched in your teeth and a desperate look in your eye, wouldn't it be nice to stroll casually outside, whistling a cheery tune and smiling at the world? There is a way -- leave early. Nothing drastic, just 5 or 10 minutes. Of course, this will take planning, and planning is what so many of these blog posts have been about. It could mean changing your routine a bit -- but if your routine is that wild-eyed, bagel-chomping dash out the door, how is that a bad thing?

So, 5 or 10 minutes. That means setting the alarm clock 5 or 10 minutes earlier: you get that. But here's the key part: don't do anything else that you didn't do before. This isn't an extra 5 or 10 minutes to do yoga/make pancakes/watch one more cat video -- this is time you've reserved for leaving early, and that's it. Those other things are worth-while -- so many cat videos, so little time -- but if you want them too, get up even earlier.

Leaving early means saving fuel, cutting stress, perhaps better digestive health. That smile and cheerful whistling keeps the neighbours guessing. And you'll find the peace in your heart to forgive the groundhog -- he's just the messenger, after all.






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