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Green Goddess: Tips for using your car less

Making a pact to drive less is a great start on the road to a happier planet.

By Wendyl Nissen

We all know we should drive less, not only to cut down on fossil fuels and reduce pollution, but to save money. Here are some tips for ways to use your car less frequently and become a green transport user:

• Consider trading in your car for a smaller, more eco-efficient model. Unless you have a large family or need a four-wheel drive vehicle, there really isn’t any reason to own a gas guzzler.

• Buy a bike. And use it. You might just take it down to the local shops or to the library. Then you may feel more confident about riding it further to visit friends or even go to work. The important thing is to have it on hand for those times when you feel inspired to try. And you’ll also be keeping fit.

• Walk it. It’s much easier to hop into the car and go to the supermarket, but you could walk and take a handy trolley bag with you to carry the groceries. It will only take a little bit longer but you’ll feel very virtuous when you get home.

• Choose public transport. If you live in a big city, it’s vital you support public transport so that it continues to grow and provide a better service. And remember that catching a bus or a train gives you all that time to read a book.

• Ask around at work to see if anyone lives near you and would consider carpooling.

• Make one trip not four. Plan your errands and combine that trip to the supermarket with the school drop-off and the sports pick-up. Taking multiple short trips starting from a cold engine can use twice as much fuel as one longer trip with a warm engine.

• Shop online. Many retailers now offer free shipping (even international retailers) or they offer a flat fee of about $5 for a courier. Match this with the cost of driving and parking and you’re way ahead – and so is the environment.

• Consider working from home more and use Skype or other internet software to communicate with work if you have to. You may be able to work from home a couple of days a week and save fuel getting to and from the office.

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