Sometimes the hardest part about making a driving trip to any destination is finding a parking spot. Americans on average spend 17 hours a year (as of 2017) searching for parking on the streets, in parking lots or parking garages. However, it is often more difficult to find a parking spot in heavily populated areas such as major U.S cities. At a global level, drivers in the U.K spend an average of 44 hours a year searching for parking. The time spent searching does more than make you a few minutes behind schedule. It also harms the fuel economy of your vehicle and the environment. The good news is, saving gas and decreasing your carbon footprint can be done without having to break the bank to get the newest hybrid vehicles.
The first and most obvious solution is to default to public transportation as it is one of the most environmentally conscious travel alternatives. Though it has its limitations, for example, in the case of long travel lengths. If you’re faced with long travel lengths, such as a vacation with friends, carpooling saves fuel and decreases the amount of vehicles crowding the roads. However, in order to ensure that your car is able to handle the travel, it’s important to maintain your vehicle through regular service checks.
Other more novel habits that you would otherwise overlook can also make a difference. For example, instead of cooling your vehicle through the air conditioning, open the windows in order to circulate air through. If you’re trying to consciously heat your car, instead of immediately entering the car and increasing the heat to max, drive the car and gradually increase the heat. Even emptying your trunk of any excess weight has a positive effect on your car and thus the environment.
When considering vehicle performance, as much as you may want to post high speeds on the highway, maintaining the recommended speed limit decreases carbon emissions and increases expected mileage of your gas tank. Additionally, cycling your car on and off too much contributes unnecessary carbon emissions and vehicle wear.
If you happen to encounter a parking lot near capacity, our first instinct is to search for a parking spot nearest our destination as possible. However, if you happened to park at the first available spot you saw, and decided to walk a bit further, you’re making a healthy decision for yourself physically and the environment. This is particularly true if you park nearest an exit of your destination so your car doesn’t have to maneuver as much to exit the lot. This is an excellent way to fight stop-and-go driving.
Though transportation emissions are some of the largest contributors to global warming gasses, there are ways to decrease our emissions. Continue reading the accompanying infographic for more tips that will save you time, save your vehicle energy, and reduce your carbon footprint.
Ian Todd is Director of Automated Parking Systems for Westfalia, a York, Pennsylvania-based manufacturer. Todd has more than 15 years of experience in automated parking systems in both Europe and the Americas, where he has held roles in product development, project management, marketing, and business development and sales.