As Earth Day comes to a close, we are reminded of the importance of being environmentally conscious every day. Fortunately for motorists, taking steps to go greener on the roads will also save them money in the process.
AAA offers the following tips for lessening our environmental impact when behind the wheel:
- Imagine Eggs Under the Pedals. Instead of making quick starts and sudden stops, go easy on the gas and brake pedals. If there is a red light ahead, ease off the gas and coast up to it rather than waiting until the last second to brake. Once the light turns green, accelerate gently. This will increase your vehicle’s gas mileage, which means less trips to the pump. It will also go easier on your tires, which means replacing them less often.
- Slow Down. The fuel efficiency of most vehicles decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Each 5 mph driven over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.24 per gallon for gas, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Choose a “Greener” Car. When shopping for a new car, consider the wide variety of ‘green’ options now available. It could be a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid, and electric vehicle or simply a new model with a high-tech internal combustion engine that gets great gas mileage.
- Plan Ahead. If you have multiple errands to run, combine all of your trips into one. Several short trips starting with a cold engine each time can use twice as much gas as a single longer trip. If possible, park somewhere in between to avoid a second trip. Carpool with others when possible. If a destination is in walking distance, opt for the exercise instead.
While you pledge to adjust driving habits in an effort to Go Green, AAA is doing its part as well. All used batteries returned to AAA are recycled.
Locally, AAA Carolinas collects used batteries throughout the year, including on Earth Week. AAA started this service to aid the environment and prevent potential improper installation of batteries by individuals. More than 10,000 used batteries in the Carolinas have been turned in for proper disposal during three previous Earth Weeks alone.
Battery recycle centers reuse or properly dispose of harmful components such as lead and sulfuric acid. Nationwide, more than 101 million lead-acid batteries are sold each year and many are illegally disposed of in dumps or near water sources. When left lying around the house or garage, these hazardous materials can leak into groundwater or explode in a fire.
Nationwide, AAA collects and now recycles more than 1 million batteries each year. AAA has been engaged in the program since 2001.
Be sure to use caution when handling used batteries. Some safety tips include:
- Wear gloves and safety glasses when handling used batteries
- Keep batteries upright and place them in a sturdy box or plastic container to transport them
- Handle any cracked or leaking battery case with care by putting it in a leak-proof container
- Never expose batteries to an open flame or smoke
- Keep out of the reach of children