How to Drive Like an Environmentalist

You know what I’m going to say. Cars pollute. A LOT. Every smidgeon of efficiency we can glean is beneficial especially if it happens cumulatively. Of course, the best way to drive like an environmentalist is to not drive.

But if you must, I suggest prioritizing your decisions with this mantra in mind, “Keep everyone moving.” Environmentalist driving is holistic driving. The best way to contribute to the least pollution is to minimize the number of non-moving minutes for all vehicles. How? Yield. Let that person who has poor planning skills (or is just plain greedy) to merge into the line for the off-ramp. Environmentalist drivers don’t hold grudges.

However, all vehicles should not be treated equally. Public transportation moves the most people per pollutant (in general). Many cities’ fleets are run on alternate fuels. Give these buses and trains all the room they want. And while you’re at it, include pedestrians and bicyclists in the group who deserves the space and patience you give. They use 0% pollutant per person-mile!

Now that you’re getting the gist of it, how many other efficiency measures can you think of that keep everyone moving? How about signaling? Half of you just rolled your eyes because you’re sick and tired of people telling you to use your signal. Signals are for suckers. The other half rolled your eyes because you’re sick and tired of people who don’t signal. An environmentalist driver is a good communicator. Communicating with other drivers helps them be environmentalist drivers too. It helps all types of commuters – walkers, scooters, and cyclists. Give ‘em a wave. Remember what your momma told you about letting lower carbon transport take priority. Include busses, car shares, and taxis in that group. They are on the clock, don’t they deserve a br(e)ak(e)? Leave early and see what kind of stress relief and happiness being the good guy brings.

I wouldn’t be my thorough self if I didn’t also ask to keep everyone moving smoothly. We don’t want a lot of stopping and starting. This brings down everyone’s mileage.

In short, keep everyone moving, communicate, and prioritize.

Did I miss something? Please add your two cents!


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