“Today, motor vehicles are responsible for nearly one half of smog-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs), more than half of the nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, and about half of the toxic air pollutant emissions in the United States. Motor vehicles, including nonroad vehicles, now account for 75 percent of carbon monoxide emissions nationwide.”
In an attempt to do our part to help out the world and our wallets my husband and I have decided to use our car solely on the weekends. During the week there will be no driving, we can bike or ride the bus.
It’s not easy to see the true impact our vehicles have on the environment especially because this world, as I see it, is built for cars not people. Actually, it’s so car friendly in a majority of places it’s not easy to go without one. Walking and biking seem to be more dangerous than driving a car around town. In Salem (the capitol of Oregon) the buses don’t run on the weekends and most streets have forgotten to add bike lanes. I can understand why the majority of people around my city have decided that a car is the best way to get around, but in order to be aware of the impact we put on the planet we can’t live like the majority of people do. We need to do something different.
What we are doing differently:
- We only have one car.
- My husband got rid of his car in college and rides his bike instead. He rides his bike to work, to friends house’s, or where ever he needs (unfortunately I am not as motivated…)
- We are not using our car during the week (exceptions do exist, but our main goal is to eliminate the weekly driving commute).
Another reason that made this so easy for me was the cost of driving to work and around town during the week. A few months ago I estimated how much I was spending on gas each month. I thoughtfully wrote down about $80-$90 a month, when in reality we were actually spending more like $150-$180. Ouch!
So the decision is made: less car, more money for us and more clean air for the world. How much is your car(s) costing you? Don’t use a car? What are you doing differently?
Check out the commuter calculator. You can see how much you are spending on your work day or monthly commute and you can find out how much you can save!
Still want to drive? Learn how you can drive greener.