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Why your green commute will save you money

Lori Wilson is a SheKnows.com Home & Living columnist, as well as a freelance writer in Los Angeles, who after a lifetime of enduring harsh Michigan winters, relishes the warmth year round.

5 ways to save the earth

You've heard it before, your daily commute is damaging the environment. However, carpooling, walking to work or taking the bus isn't really an option for you. Don't worry, there are things you can do to counteract the damaging effect your vehicle has on the environment.

Female Commuter


Transportation accounts for 1/3 of the greenhouse gases produced in the country and motor vehicles emit 20 pounds of carbon dioxide per gallon of gas burned. Thus it's important to adopt our eco-friendly habits as a lifestyle. But not only will "going green" help save the environment, it can also save you time and money, which is often the more personal and motivating factor.

1. A Direct Shot

Idling in traffic or in the drive-thru for a morning coffee wastes gas and damages the earth. When heading out to work, make your coffee at home or park and walk inside, check online for the less congested routes (at sites such as Traffic Gauge), or get a GPS device that provides real time accident and traffic data. If you have the flexibility, go in to work later or earlier to avoid rush hour traffic. You'll not only get to work quicker, but you will also eliminate putting out dangerous toxins while your engine idles, burning through all your gas.

2. Reusable Mugs

If you just can't live without your Starbucks, then buy a reusable mug instead of getting a new plastic cup every time you stop in. You'll not only get a discount for using a refillable container, but you'll help minimize all that plastic lying around in landfills for years on end.

If you don't drink coffee but may have an unhygienic plastic water bottle habit, you should consider buying a filtration system (like a Brita pitcher) to fill up your reusable bottle at home. This will eliminate the plastic and save you a lot of money when buying water that you can get at home for free. In addition, you won't have to add another stop on your way to or from work.

3. Stop For Gas

Don't drive around looking for cheap gas, which will just waste more, creating wear and tear on your car. Instead, stop at the first gas station you come to and fill up. Using up your gas looking to save a couple cents per gallon isn't going to save you any money in the long run.

4. Constructive Parking

When it's hot outside, park in a shaded area and crack your windows so you car is cooler when you leave work. This will help you avoid using your air conditioning on your way home, which will conserve 5-15 percent of the energy our cars use and in turn, money on gas.

5. Be Kind to Your Car

Show your car and the environment some love by keeping your auto in tiptop shape. Regularly changing your oil, keeping your tires inflated and checking all the necessary filters, hoses, etc. will not only use 10 percent less gas, but will reduce your car's emissions and save you money.

Keep Things Green

If you have to drive to work every day, make sure you take steps to protect the earth and in the process, your wallet. The above are just a few things you can do during your ride to work to make things easier on everyone involved, but for more tips, read our article on ways to Save Money on Gas.

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