March 30, 2007
Well, at least I am — or riding my bike, or taking public transit — because from now on I’m leaving my car parked in the garage on weekends, from when I wake up on Saturday until I go to sleep on Sunday (so if I happen to sleep-drive at 4 a.m. Monday morning, that is totally acceptable!).
Here’s the part where everyone leaves comments like, “You know what you should really do? GET RID OF THE DAMN CAR!”). I’ve considered this, and it might be a possibility in the future, but because it takes me an hour and a half to take transit to work (streetcar, then train, then bus, then walking — it’s not my fault, it’s the office that’s in the boonies) and it takes me almost two hours to bike (I tried last summer and had to shower three times that day), yet just 20 minutes to drive, I need the car for work.
On the weekend, however, especially now that it’s Spring, leaving the car behind shouldn’t be that big of an issue. Even if I’m getting groceries over at the St. Lawrence Market or going out for a drink at night up in the Annex, I think I can manage with two feet and two wheels. Of course, like many of my green changes, I’m sure that come February of next year I’ll be crying into my homemade compost bin about it.
Photo courtesy of pastorbuhro on Flickr
March 11, 2007
Tire pressure, that is. As of today, I’m going to make sure I check my tire pressure at least four times a year — as the seasons change.
As Larry West says on About.com, “When tires are not inflated to the pounds per square inch (PSI) rating recommended by manufacturers, they are less ’round’ and require more energy to begin moving and to maintain speed. As such, under-inflated tires do indeed contribute to pollution and increase fuel costs.”
According to the website fueleconomy.gov, inflating tires to their proper pressure can improve mileage by about 3%, whereas leaving them under-inflated can lower it by 0.4% for every one PSI drop in pressure.
As West says, this means that the average person driving with under-inflated tires “uses about 144 extra gallons of gas, at a cost of US$300-$500 a year. And each time one of those gallons of gas is burned, 20 pounds of carbon dioxide is added to the atmosphere as the carbons in the gas are released and combine with the oxygen in the air. As such, any vehicle running on soft tires is contributing as much as 1.5 extra tons (2,880 pounds) of greenhouse gases to the environment annually.”
On top of this, smushy tires can also lead to longer stopping distances, roll-overs and skidding (and as someone who almost ran over her boss once while he was jogging, I can attest that it is very important to be able to brake effectively).
While I acknowledge that I probably shouldn’t be driving a car to begin with, at least when I do, my tires will be treading a bit more lightly on Mother Nature’s back.