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Friday, November 28, 2014


Steps You Can Take To Reduce Harmful Emissions from Your Car

Eco-friendly carA car is a necessary form of transportation for many people. Cars also produce harmful emissions that damage the atmosphere and reduce local air quality. Although emissions cannot be eliminated completely, they can be reduced. You will want to know about a few steps that you can take to reduce your car’s carbon emissions.

Choose the Right Vehicle
The first step is to choose the right vehicle. If you are going to buy a new car, then look for a vehicle that runs on electricity or that has a hybrid engine. Electric cars produce very few emissions. They are a good choice if you do not have to drive long distances every day or if you live in a city. Hybrid cars switch between electric and gas when appropriate. They can dramatically cut down on harmful emissions.

Regular Maintenance and Inspections
You want to take your vehicle in for car inspections on a regular basis. You should consider scheduling an inspection two to three times a year or once each season. A vehicle inspection can detect problems that are causing your car to work inefficiently. The technicians can perform maintenance at this time to repair small problems and prevent larger issues. The result will be a car that burns less fuel and that emits less carbon into the atmosphere.

Find Ways to Drive Less
One of the best ways to lower carbon emissions is to find ways to drive less. You could organize a car pool to get to work in the morning. You could park farther away from stores and buildings to lower emissions by a small amount every day. Try walking to nearby stores or parks instead of driving a short distance. You might be able to start taking green public transportation instead of driving.

Use the Air Conditioner Less
The refrigerant required to create cool air when you run the air conditioner is very harmful to the atmosphere. The emissions from the car will increase noticeably while you are running the air conditioner. Open the car windows instead while driving. Park your car in shady spots to keep the interior cool. Consider installing a solar-powered fan on your dashboard so that you do not need the air conditioner as much.

Schedule Repairs As Soon As You See Problems
Never allow problem with your car to go unaddressed. If you start to notice performance issues, strange sounds or unusual burning odors, then schedule a vehicle inspection right away. Even a very minor problem could increase emissions every year. Car inspections will detect the source of the problem. The automotive technicians can then make repairs so that emissions do not spike suddenly. This will also improve your fuel efficiency.

Drive Using Green Techniques
A final tip is to use green driving techniques. Keep your car as empty as possible to reduce the weight. Keep the outside clean so that there is less resistance while driving. Always follow the speed limit. Do not brake and accelerate suddenly at traffic lights or intersections. All of these techniques will improve fuel efficiency and reduce harmful emissions.

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Car2Go: convenient & eco-conscious point-to-point car sharing


With growing population numbers and cities creeping ever wider getting from point A to point B is only going to get more cumbersome. In response to this rising problem new modes of public transportation are starting to pop up. One such option gaining momentum is Car2Go which was founded in 2008.

Car2Go has turned up in Austin TX, Denver CO, Los Angeles CA, Miami FL, Portland OR, San Diego CA, – a total of 22 cities and counting. Car2Go is a new concept for consumers. Car2Go 2Instead of jumping on a bus or trolley to use a form of public transport in the city you can now jump into a Car2Go. To access a Car2Go simply walk up to any Car2Go car, whip out a membership card, activate and drive to your destination. Once there you can hop out and leave the Car2Go parked in the home area. Fees for the service vary depending on the city you’re interested in. (more…)

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Monday, July 14, 2014

The Benefits of Purchasing Green Cars

Eco-friendly car

Choosing a car was hard enough back when the assumption was that a personal vehicle was a necessary evil – each option was as polluting as the next. Now green cars have added another layer of complexity to the car buying process. The choice isn’t just between eco-friendly and conventional anymore, either.

There are the standard hybrids like the Toyota Prius, plug-in hybrids like the Prius PHV, battery electric models like the all-electric BMW i3 and fuel cell vehicles like the Honda Clarity. All four types bring major green cred to the table and that’s a good thing. Whereas once it was the hybrid that was going to change the world, we’re seeing a revolution in the auto industry as the big car companies race to outdo each other.

But back to choices. Too many people have the idea that green is good when it comes to the family car but aren’t sure exactly why. Or what sets one green car apart from the next. First, the odd man out is the fuel cell vehicle. It’s a great idea in theory – amazing fuel efficiency and the only emission is water – but in practice it’s not a feasible alternative for the average consumer right now. There are only nine public hydrogen fueling stations in California and just one in South Carolina. Live anywhere else and you’re out of luck. Until the infrastructure is in place expect fuel cell vehicles to be a relative rarity.

Evaluating Electrics

That leaves hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and all-electric models for the eco-conscious consumer. Standard hybrids are essentially the starter option in the green car lineup – they’re low polluting but still use gas and add to the emissions load being pumped into the atmosphere. They’re also budget friendly. Because the internal battery charges when the driver brakes, gas usage goes down pretty dramatically.

The biggest benefit of hybrids (including plug-in hybrids) over all-electric models is that there’s no range issue. Fuel flexibility means you can top off anywhere. One hundred percent electric cars, on the other hand, are zero emission vehicles but pricey thanks to specialty batteries and at an average 60 to 80 miles per charge you can’t go very far from home. The outlier is the Tesla, which can go 200 miles on a single charge.

2014 toyota prius

Taking the Plunge

The car buying bible, Kelley Blue Book, is anything but silent when it comes to green cars. The company’s top three picks for 2014 were the Toyota Prius (which is the most affordable option), Nissan Leaf and BMW i3. Opt for the Prius Liftback and you’ll be in good company – Toyota’s posted 2013 sales topped out at 34,981 and with close to 11,000 sold in 2014’s first quarter alone expect to see more on the road.

The Leaf may boast 55 percent of the 2013 market share when it comes to all-electric vehicles but that translates into less than 10,000 units. However as interest in electric cars grows there may be a surge in sales. This car is sure to garner much attention as the Automotive Science Group listed it as having the lowest overall carbon footprint throughout its lifetime.

The number one vehicle on KBB’s list of top green cars is the (more…)

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Going Green: The Top Three Hybrids

AA - Green Car Buying - Infographic V3

Hybrid cars represent the motoring’s future. While enhanced fuel economy has come to vehicles in every market segment, hybrids have the edge. They represent an entry-level solution that minimizes the impact of their conventional petrol engines on mpg for city driving. Plug-in hybrids offer extended electric range before the conventional petrol or diesel engine comes to life, and the benefits of their efficient designs don’t only help the environment but also your pocket. They require fewer resources to power them and offer other financial benefits such as zero car tax and free London congestion charge area access. To discover the 3 best hybrids on the market today, read on.

Ford Mondeo Hybrid
Launching in autumn of this year, the fifth generation Ford Mondeo has been available in America as the Ford Fusion Hybrid since 2009. The redesigned Ford Fusion Hybrid is bigger, faster and smarter – and it’s on its way to the UK. Its interior features an elegantly furnished cabin and a broad spectrum of high-tech features. More importantly, it boasts a newer, more efficient engine. Although smaller than previous versions, the redesigned engine combines with Ford’s smooth electric-drive system to deliver increased power and a vastly improved fuel economy of 47 mpg city and highway, which is an amazing 20 percent better than its 2012 predecessor. Ford has removed the price premium usually associated with hybrids in the hopes that it will appeal to a wider audience, so the price tag will be roughly equivalent to that of a diesel model. If you want to drive silently around town, save money on tax breaks and still do longer drives between cities without penalties, then be one of the first to get your hands on it.

Toyota Prius C
Toyota Prius’ have consistently been lauded as one of the top hybrid vehicles on the market today, only recently knocked from the top spot by the Ford Fusion Hybrid. Its adherents have not deserted it yet, and the Prius is still a consistently popular choice for those searching for a superior eco-friendly vehicle. Although the standard model is more common, the smaller, cheaper Toyota Prius C is the best the manufacturer has to offer. The compact C is slightly sportier-looking than its larger counterpart, and delivers an EPA-rated 50 mpg combined fuel economy. Although acceleration can be slightly sluggish, and the cabin features an overabundance of hard plastics, the budget-friendly pricing combined with the vehicle’s economical fuel consumption and an abundance of safety equipment creates a winning hybrid.

Ford C-Max Hybrid
Another Ford takes bronze in the hybrid Olympics. The Ford C-Max Hybrid is cleverly designed, attractive and enjoyable to drive, and provides a nice alternative to the small SUV.  Despite a shortage of cargo space and a hard-to-use MyFord Touch infotainment system, its shortcomings are more than compensated for by its pluses: an abundance of passenger space; a refined gas-electric drive system – the most powerful in its class – which delivers 47 mpg fuel economy, both city and highway; and a wealth of standard features, complemented by plenty of optional additions.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Owning a Hybrid SUV: A Costs-Benefits Analysis

Mercedes-Benz SUV

As time goes on, it becomes more and more clear that hybrid automobiles represent the future. The benefits continue to outweigh the costs thanks to efficient designs. People often forget that Earth-friendly products don’t only exist just to help the environment, but also to create more efficient living. Energy requires resources and, therefore, uses money. Eventually, we’ll all be driving hybrid cars. Someday, we might even see total independence from fossil fuels. Check out some of the costs and benefits of owning a hybrid SUV.

Learning How to Drive Efficiently
Hybrid cars don’t just run efficiently, they teach you how to maintain efficiency in the process. Most hybrids offer a display that shows your present mileage next to an indicator of your current mpg. Many also tell you how much energy you regain when using the brakes.

All cars perform more efficiently from gentle acceleration and braking. When you can see exactly how each of your movements and decisions affect the mileage, you learn how to drive as efficiently as possible. For many people, trying to drive for the best mileage can become a fun and encouraging challenge on the road.

Perform Better Than Estimates
Because EPA estimates focus primarily on highway driving, you can actually beat those in your hybrid car. That’s right; hybrids actually drive better in the city than on the highway. Every time you stop in hybrid cars, they generate more electricity that can drive the car at lower speeds, or help the car accelerate quickly. According to, even a luxury hybrid SUV can get up to 50 mpg if used correctly in the city.

Gas Prices Still Affect You
Though saving on gas still stands as the main appeal to consumers, gas prices can still affect you financially. We all know that hybrid cars cost more because of their efficiency. Unfortunately, as gas prices rise, so do the prices of hybrids. Although, you could look at this as an upside. If you decide to sell you car in the future, and gas prices have risen, then you can sell your car for closer to the price you bought it.

Multi-Engine Power
Hybrid cars use two engines: an electric engine and a small gasoline engine. This can come in handy as electric engines are all you need in many cases. They produce their energy from zero revolutions per minute, which means you can accelerate from a complete stop to a speed two gears ahead with ease. The gas engine only needs to come into play for higher powered uses, like going at high speeds or moving quickly up a hill. The combination creates efficient riding, even when you don’t drive your best.

Batteries Work Great
People constantly worry about hybrid batteries, often citing them as a reason that hybrids don’t really save you as much money in the long run as the claim. Other people warn about batteries failing, and how expensive they can be to replace. Despite popular belief, you don’t have to pay for a top-notch battery from the company who sold you your car. Just like any other car part, you can buy one relatively cheaply at a salvage yard.

Hybrid batteries usually have excellent warranties, lasting long enough to make you feel like you got far more out of it than you paid for. Some people drive their car for over 200,000 miles before needing a new battery.

Lower Highway Driving MPG
This article mentioned earlier how hybrids can beat EPA estimates of a car’s miles per gallon by utilizing its efficiency in the city. Unfortunately, highway driving gives us a different story. Hybrids work the opposite of fully gas-powered cars in that they become least efficient on the highway. Don’t expect to feel incredibly fuel-efficient out there; you’ll still have a good average mpg, but certain compact cars and diesels can reach the same level of efficiency on the highway if driven correctly.

Less Maintenance
Among the best features of hybrid efficiency, you’ll notice that the gas engine doesn’t run at all when the car has stopped or is moving slowly. If driving in the city, you’ll constantly stop and keep the car at low speeds. Because of this, you end up putting a lot less wear and tear on your engine. This allows you to take your car in to get oil changes far less often and keeps the engine lasting longer.

Hybrids regenerate electricity with regenerative brakes instead of applying standard brakes, except in cases where you must stop suddenly. Most people drive around all day without slamming on the brakes, meaning the conventional brakes rarely get used. Thanks to that handy feature, you won’t have to bring your brakes in for service as often as you would with a non-hybrid.

The Car Stays Warm
As any mechanic knows, when you start-up a cold engine it’s harder to crank and can wear the engine down much more than starting one that you’ve already warmed up. Hybrids combat this by using a coolant they store in a temperature-saving container. So, once you’ve warmed up engine fluid, it stays warm for days. As long as you don’t let your car sit unused for days on end, you shouldn’t have any problems with wearing down your engine from cold starts.

It Takes Time To Earn Your Money Back
One last issue, though maybe not so important, comes with the time it takes to earn your savings back. The average hybrid SUV costs about three to four thousand dollars more than an equivalent non-hybrid version. If you drive 20,000 miles a year, spending just a little more time in the city than on the highway, you’ll save around $1000 on gas annually. That means it would take 3 to 4 years for you to earn your money back.

Now, gas mileage isn’t the only benefit of owning a hybrid, but it still acts as the main appeal. Even though you will earn your money back in gas savings, some people get discouraged by how long it takes for this to happen.

All in all, you won’t regret purchasing a hybrid car, as long as you can afford it. Future trends will only continue to support gas-efficient vehicles.

Author Bio:
Benjamin Ferguson is a freelance writer in Portland, OR. He loves creative writing, especially humor, and would love to help you write your story, comic, video, or any other creative venture that needs ideas, writing and/or polishing. If you’d like to contact him about any of these things, send him and e-mail at or send him a message on his linked in profile.

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