Photo by Joe Thorn. Licensed under Creative Commons license 2.0.
Forget the gadgets
Whether you possess your dog-eared ride because of unpleasant fiscal realities or you're just absolutely sure they'll never make another car quite like the AMC Pacer, there are some obvious and, perhaps, not so obvious things you can do to minimize it's environmental impact. While there are copious amounts of gadgets and mystery mileage-booster potions out there, likely the best thing you can do is keep the car in good operating condition. Forget about sticking magnets or other devices on your fuel lines, forgo the do-dads in your air intake and don't fall for the ol' hydrogen gas from electrolysis with extra alternator juice. Instead, treat your wheels to regular tune-ups that keep your engine running as efficiently as possible. Speaking of wheels, keeping them properly inflated is sensible and green.
You can extend that efficiency concept to your driving style as well. Many folks force their cars to wear smaller carbon shoes using certain driving techniques. Extreme use of these is almost a sport and is popularly known as hypemiling. There are lots of little tricks that can be employed that can together make a huge difference. While some might be a little dangerous, there are plenty of common sensical ones anyone can do, like avoiding drive-thrus and not speeding.
If your car is a couple decades old, you might consider the sweet sorrow of parting with it forever and picking yourself up something from the 21st century. Although scrapping the old and buying new is thought to be less eco-friendly because of emissions created in manufacturing, vehicles built before Bill was POTUS often lack the pollution controls that more recent models possess.
Old dog, new trick
If you really like your existing car, you can keep the look but update the powertrain. It's possible to convert just about any car to an all-electric and just get rid of that tail pipe altogether (Don't forget about the "long tailpipe" though.) Another type of conversion that may make it to market soon would turn your heap into a hybrid. If it's already a hybrid, you may be able to convert it to a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) through companies like PICC or Hymotion. If you have a car that's a true classic, you may be able to put in a more efficient motor and transmission but that will likely reduce its value. To keep it real and green (and valuable), we suggest you keep it garaged except for rare special occasions.
The greenest mile
Speaking of keeping it garaged, the greenest trip is the one not taken and one of the easiest ways to go green is also the easiest to accomplish since it involves only inaction. Simply don't go. Sit. Stay. Done. Of course, most of us have places we need to travel to but we can often find alternatives to cranking up the beast and heading out on the highway solo. So, let us know how you keep your PMPG low.
Thanks to Adam for submitting this week's Greenlings question. To submit a topic you'd like us to cover in a future column, go here.