EcoTips: Driving Less
Why we care
Cars, SUVs, and pickups are among the largest contributors to global warming. They consume about half of our oil and in urban areas produce the most air pollution, a human health issue. Drilling and transporting oil often results in massive environmental disasters like the explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon unit, which was devastating to marine life.
Simple, positive steps
• Combine trips. Keep a list of errands and wait until it is long enough before making a trip. Practice trip chaining and plot the best route ahead of time.
• Create monthly budget. Estimate how many miles you drive each year and set a monthly allowance. Track mileage to reach your goal.
• Ride a bike. Biking is easier when you have the right gear, build your confidence, and know the best route. Check out Portland By Cycle, at https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/44099, and a Portland bicycle map. In Washington County see the Bicycle Transportation Coalition, at http://www.washcobtc.org/education_1
• Take a bus. Use the Tri Met Trip Planner online, at https://trimet.org/#/planner
• Alter one trip at a time. Choose one trip that you make regularly; then walk, bike, carpool, or
use mass transit instead. When that becomes routine, select another regular trip.
• Park your car. Make a pact with your household to park a car for three months. After the experiment, evaluate which new practices you are willing to keep.
• Sell a car. You may lose some time and convenience, but you will save money and contribute to a healthy planet.
• Explore a car-sharing company, such as Zip Car or Car2Go. For road trips, consider a car rental company like Enterprise.